June 17, 2008
The EU Summit later this week will begin the search for a solution. But before a problem can be solved, it must be identified. There were several reasons for voting No and it is may not be possible to form an accurate overview.
This is both an Irish problem and an EU problem. It is not a question of democracy as it is portrayed but one of legitimacy. The EU structure is democratic. No legislation can be adopted without the approval of the Council, made up of ministers of nationally elected governments, and the European Parliament, made up of directly elected MEPs. But EU citizens do not identify with the Union and do not understand its relevance to their daily lives.
This is primarily the fault of the Member State leaders who continue to present EU negotiations as a zero sum game and do not admit the extent to which the EU decides economic and social issues. They do not emphasise that, only by working together can the individual Member States hope to face their main challenges.
Unless and until Member State leaders put aside their egos and domestic political tactics and tell the truth about the EU, the problem highlighted by the Irish referendum result will not do away.Author : Stanley Crossick