Political leaders across Europe were shaking their heads in frustration this weekend at the Irish voters’ veto of the latest European Union treaty. But many of their citizens weren’t.
Ordinary Spaniards, Dutch, French and Britons, who wish they could get the same chance, might also say “no” to the cold, distant heart of Europe.
“Spaniards feel Spanish, the French feel French, and the Dutch feel Dutch. We will never all be in the same boat,” said Eduardo Herranz, a 41-year-old salesman in Madrid, Spain.
Which is why the European union was a piss-poor idea to begin with.
This is another reason why the Irish are so wary of the EU:
……Many Europeans say this is exactly the problem with democracy Brussels-style, where European Commission members are not directly elected but wield continental powers.
“We’re told we can vote no, that the system requires unanimity. But when (a `no’ vote) actually happens, every time, the EU tells us: You really only have a right to vote yes,” said Dublin travel agent Paul Brady, who voted against the treaty. “You know, I love traveling through Europe, but I don’t really want to live there all the time. I’d like to stay as close to America as Europe.”
That’s not a union, that’s a dictatorship.
There’s widespread discontent with this form of ‘government’:
……Citizens across the continent complain they have no direct power to influence EU treaties, which are produced in legalese too complex to understand. They say it’s not enough that their elected governments help to negotiate such treaties.
Would-be voters in France and the Netherlands appear particularly annoyed on that score. Majorities there thought they had registered powerful statements against EU accountability by shooting down the EU’s proposed constitution in 2005.
Instead, most of the constitution’s rules for reshaping EU institutions and decision-making procedures reappeared in new packaging two years later when all 27 governments signed the Lisbon Treaty in the Portuguese capital.
“First they asked our opinion (on the constitution), and we said no. So the second time they didn’t ask our opinion. They said it wasn’t the same, just some little laws. But it is the same,” said Han de Vries, a parking meter attendant in Amsterdam.
……Rachel Sayer, a French woman spending the summer working in Dublin, said her country “would have voted no again” if given the opportunity to test the Lisbon Treaty.
“I know we voted no to the last one, and changes were made, and our government passed it without a revote. A lot of people didn’t like that,” said Sayer, 24, sitting in Dublin’s central park with friends.
So, what this all boils down to is that the respective governments of each country in the EU are not only overiding the will of their citizens, but pushing through their own agendas without the courtesy of a referendum.
Congratulations Europe. You’ve got that union you wanted.