Back to home page

Europe D66 European Parliament

Irish 'no' to Nice

   Wed 13/06/2001


It is not correct that the Irish "Referendum result threatens to upset the process of enlargement of the European Union" (Weekend FT June 9, 2001). The Treaty of Nice is legally not necessary for enlargement at all. The negotiations with the candidate countries are intergovernmental conferences in themselves, each resulting in an Accession Treaty that requires ratification. It is quite simple to insert those parts of the Treaty of Nice that are required for enlargement (such as the voting arrangements and the size of the Commission) in, for example, the accession treaty with Slovenia. The EU could thus easily take in a new member tomorrow if that were necessary. The Treaty of Nice is a catalogue of missed opportunities for making Europe more democratic and more accountable. Insisting that Nice was necessary for enlargement was a deliberately misleading ploy of the EU governments intended to give it a positive selling point. That Nice was never necessary has now been proven by the many assurances from the Commission that enlargement will proceed along the normal timetable. It is my conviction that the Irish did not say "No" to enlargement, they said "No" to a Europe in which their voice does not count. Since the Council and Commission have now indicated they will proceed with ratification of Nice despite the Irish "No", it would appear the Irish have a valid point. Lousewies van der Laan, MEP for Democrats 66 Noordeinde 108 Den Haag, the Netherlands