EU Treaty

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2008 National Delegate Conference
18 June 2008

Conference notes that in the only test of public acceptability that has been given to any of the nations of Europe on the Lisbon Treaty (the latest incarnation of the European Constitution), the people of Ireland voted decisively to reject it on the 11th June .Conference welcomes the Irish vote.

This historic vote to scrap the renamed EU constitution represents a victory for democracy and a rejection of a charter that would further force public services into the private sector across Europe. Conference notes that in its previous incarnation as the European Constitution the document was rejected by France and the Netherlands.

As a result of the Irish people’s decision, the Lisbon Treaty is now dead in the water, since it must be ratified by all 27 member states. Any attempt by EU ministers to force the Treaty through or force another referendum on the Irish people must be seen as a demonstration of the anti democratic nature of the European institutions. Conference believes that the British Government must reconsider the process of ratification on which it has embarked.

Conference notes that among the spectrum of opposition in Ireland, there was clearly an alliance of those who reject the Treaty on the grounds that it was anti democratic, opposed to the rights of working people throughout Europe and entrenched pro market, liberal pro privatisation policies. Conference notes its previously declared opposition to the treaty/constitution on these grounds.

Conference believes that the Lisbon Treaty, along with recent European Court of justice rulings demonstrates the extent to the institutions of the EU represent the interests of multi national capitalism as opposed to the interests of the working people of Europe.

Recent rulings by the European Court of Justice in the Laval, Viking and Ruffert cases represent a direct threat to trade union rights for over 500 million Europeans by giving employers superior rights that outlaw strike action and minimum wage agreements. Under the Lisbon Treaty the ECJ – an EU institution – would gain extraordinary new powers to impose decisions on member states and represents a fundamental attack on the concept of collective bargaining

Conference believes that Unison through the TUC, the ETUC and its European sister unions must work to forge a new agenda based on the security and prosperity of European workers, the protection of Public Services throughout Europe and the protection of trade union rights.

Conference urges the National Executive Council to:-

1)Urgently write to the Irish Trade Union’s to link up and organise a joint delegation to the European Parliament;

2)Publish a new manifesto highlighting the extent of the threat to public services and trade unionism in Europe at the moment and the alternative agenda;

3) Target a campaign throughout the trade union movement on our ideas;

4)Use the European elections next year to influence candidates about the need for an alternative vision.