September 12, 2008
Paul Adamson writes today in the Financial Times that Ireland’s gift to the rest of the EU is to raise the question of a Member State losing its Commissioner, this being a key reason why the Irish voted ‘No’ according to the findings of major government research published on 10 September. I do not agree with my old colleague. The main finding of the poll commissioned by the Irish government was a lack of knowledge or understanding of what they were voting on. The issue of Commissioner is only one example of lack of knowledge. Under the present treaties, a reduction in the number of Commissioners is obligatory from next year, whereas under the Lisbon Treaty, it is not required until 2014 and can be waived by unanimity in the European Council.
I agree that the EU is generally losing popular support, to a large extent because Europeans do not know enough about how it really operates. But Commissioners can’t really be the leading figures in that basic communications function. Until such time as Member State leaders explain to their citizens the relevance or importance of the Union to their daily lives and stop criticising ‘Brussels’ for what goes wrong, this will not change.
Of course, it does not help when the Irish Toaiseach and Commissioner McCreedy publicly confess that they have not read and will not read the Treaty of Lisbon.Author : Stanley Crossick