Saturday, 21 June 2008

Lisbon Treaty: European voices

The Treaty of Lisbon has returned. It is not only a matter of ratification and implementation, but after the Irish referendum the question about the direction of the European Union has regained force.

Here are a few European voices on the choices facing our continent.


Christoph Leitl finds that a strong and united Europe is vital. The time has come for a courageous step by those who want to go for a more integrated European Union. We need a coalition of the willing to get Europe back on track.

On EUobserver [Comment] A coalition of the willing has to bring Europe back on track:


Peter Sain ley Berry says that the problem of democracy in the European Union needs to be addressed. All that is required is that we should have a chance to dismiss, or to confirm, probably through the European Parliament, those currently in charge. As for Lisbon itself, a period of humility is called for. But many who have some familiarity with the way the EU works recognise that much of Lisbon is essential to deliver the common interest – to keep the lights switched on as it were.

On EUobserver [Comment] Democracy may be the price for securing a Lisbon agreement:


According to Richard Laming a second Irish referendum is not a neat and tidy solution to the problem facing the EU. There are still democratic challenges ahead waiting to be solved.

On EUobserver [Comment] What would a second Irish referendum solve?


In an interview Peter Ludlow says that the key figure in this is always Ms. Merkel. She has already said – we need to take the Irish problem seriously, but we must have the Lisbon Treaty. How we reconcile these two assertions is the character of the story for the next six months or so. Referenda are, historically, a very unreliable way of arriving at political decisions. The 25 or the 26 will have to take steps to assure that at least they can go ahead based on the Treaty of Lisbon.

On EurActiv interview with Peter Ludlow: Merkel can lead the EU out of crisis


In the electronic edition of Süddeutsche Zeitung Jürgen Habermas concludes that a Europe advancing at the pace of the slowest member is the wrong answer from now on. He proposes a pan-European referendum on the future direction of Europe at the same time as the elections to the European Parliament. This referendum should be clear enough to allow for a decision on the course to follow, and it might lead to some countries deepening their cooperation in the areas of foreign and security policy as well as economic and social policies.

On Jürgen Habermas: Ein Lob den Iren:


A sample of Europeans have voiced their opinions, with variations on the main themes. EU reform is needed to achieve more effective common action, but without democratic foundations the best intentions will come to naught.

Is this a fair summary?

Ralf Grahn