Lave K. Broch is currently the Chairman of the EU-critical Network of Social Liberals in Denmark. He holds a master's degree in political science from the University of Copenhagen.
By Lave K. Broch
The Lisbon Treaty is not a good basis for European cooperation. Firstly, the treaty does not have the support of the citizens of the EU member states. Secondly the treaty is almost a copy of the rejected EU constitution and contains several problematic themes, for instance a custom union and an undemocratic system whereby only the civil servants in the EU commission can make proposals for law.
It is a disgrace that only Irish voters had the right to vote in a referendum - despite a majority of citizens in all EU member states wanting a national referendum. European cooperation is worth nothing without the citizens and trying to dismiss the opinion of the general public is not constructive.
People need to know the framework for democracy and changing that framework (through an EU treaty) is a decision that can last many years and much longer than any parliament is elected. It is therefore fair that such decisions are made by the people directly. It is not healthy for democracy if present parliaments can change the framework for democracy without people’s support and that future parliaments will be bound by that decision.
After the Irish no the ratification process in the EU ought to stop because treaty changes can only be made if there is unanimity. Smaller nations (like the Sweden and the Czech Republic) should consider the importance of the rule of unanimity especially for smaller nations. It is not a rule only for large countries like France. A Danish, Irish, Swedish or Czech “no” must be respected as equal to a larger countries “no” else the EU is on a road where the smaller countries need to watch out. Europe must build on the respect of differences and European cooperation is worth nothing if democracy and the respect of small countries is undermined.
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