November 18, 2008
The Irish government’s preoccupation with ensuring that it does not lose a Commissioner speaks loudly of its choice of current political priorities. Declan Ganley, leader of the Libertas group, and a force behind the No vote, says that the declarations discussed by the Irish government on a permanent Commissioner and other issues would not have any legal weight. “Not a jot or title – not a comma – of the text of Lisbon can be changed, for otherwise it would be legally a new treaty which would have to go around all 27 EU States for ratification again”, he said.
He is wrong. A binding agreement can be reached between the 27 Member States, unanimously agreeing to nominate one Commissioner per country when the new Lisbon Treaty provisions come into force in 2014. The Treaty requires there to be a reduction in the size of the college, but the Council has to decide the number unanimously. The strictly legal position can be regularized in the Croatian Accession Agreement.
Ganley should remind his followers that, under the existing treaty, one Member State is bound to lose its Commissioner next year. Perhaps he should make out a case for this not being Ireland.Author : Stanley Crossick