Friday, September 25, 2009

The Lisbon Treaty: The CYM View

I'm starting a series of articles which are interviews with people opposed to the Lisbon Treaty.

First up is Gareth Murphy, General Secretary of the Connolly Youth Movement (CYM).

NF: Sum up for us, in 30 words or less, why the CYM is opposed to the Lisbon Treaty?

GM: The Lisbon Treaty further erodes the sovereignty of member-states and gives further power and policy control over to unelected bureaucrats. This Treaty actually rewards those that have driven the economic crisis that is putting ordinary workers and their families out of work. (Not quite 30 words but that's concise enough.)

A lot of people have a lot to say about the provisions made or not made in the Treaty regarding Worker's Rights. Sum up for us briefly the situation regarding Worker's Rights in the Treaty.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights is subject to non-interference with the ‘general interest’ of the EU that is the common market. These rights are therefore not fundamental but marketised –made subject to the market. The unelected European Court of Justice will decide where and when these rights are applicable and when not. We have seen several cases over the last number of years where the ECJ has came down firmly on the side of big business and against workers rights and trade union rights.

What does the CYM make of the intrusion of big businesses like Intel and Ryanair into the debate on the Yes side?

Our NO vote rocked the establishment. Big business and their bureaucrats in Brussels were not at all happy with the expressed wish of the Irish people (just like that of the French and Dutch before us). This time around the YES side is taking no chances so they have pulled out the celebrities and the big bucks to bully citizens into voting a certain way. This is EU democracy at work. Today, as we speak, there are thousands of unregistered and unfiltered lobbyists wining and dining the authors of legislating that increasingly impacts every part of our lives. This is how Europe works and we oppose it.

Similarly, what does the CYM make of the intrusion of the UK Independence Party into the debate on the No side?

There are many different voices on the No side. In Ireland we have trade unionists and peoples voices, we also have a catholic part of the No side and also in Libertas and Declan Ganley a business group against Lisbon.

There are complex reasons as to why people on the right are opposed to the Treaty and UKIP are most certainly on the right. They see some of the anti-trust and monopoly regulation of the EU as intereference in the market and in business and so oppose.

However UKIP and Libertas are correct in identifying the loss of sovereignty that will occur post-Lisbon. UKIP and their allies have also done enormous research into the waste of money and the cost of EU membership to ordinary citizens. This research is useful for all of us to use.

Does the CYM see a future for Ireland in Europe?

Europe is a geographic entity. Whether we like it or not Ireland is part of Europe. We also share many commonalities with the people of the continent and it makes perfect geographic sense that Europe should forge trading and economic links. However the EU is a political project. From day one, and one must only read Monnet and Schumman etc to see, this has been a project to build a federal state without ever telling the people so. It has been about manipulation and abuse.

The CYM are very much opposed to this imperialist (for it cant be anything but that given the federalisation of the large capitalist powers in Europe) state.

There are living and developing examples of alternative means of trading within geographic speheres. Where states come together and agree upon cooperation for mutual benefit. ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America) is a fine example of this.

People of Europe must fight to reclaim sovereignty, reclaim control and step by step build alliances and an alternative means of cooperation based upon the needs of people and not big business.

Many thanks to Gareth Murphy, General Secretary of the Connolly Youth Movement for his time and patience.


  1. I share your concern about the erosion of sovereignty emobodied by any strengthening of the political union over member states. It inevitably follows that more distance is created between those forming policy and those that policy affects - ie an accountability deficit.

    However, I'm a little confused about your support for the "needs of the people" over "big business". Surely businesses cannot become big unless they are supplying the people with a need or service in demand. Hence supply and demand economics.

    My main gripe with the EU is the lack of conviction it attaches to its free trade principles. The European Court of Justice keeps handing out rulings (see 1999 Zenatti case or 2009 Bwin vs Portugal)which fail to provide EU citizens with unrestricted access to services and goods from across the continent. Yet in France, taking as an example online gambling and sports betting, the government runs a monopoly over the industry, preventing French citizens using non-French bookmakers and agencies. This is protectionist, leadign to less competition and higher prices for punters everywhere.

    There's a petition at to challenge the European courts to uphold the basic free trade mantra. Otherwise the organisation fails its most basic objective.

  2. Well I can safely say that the CYM is not in favour of unregulated free trade (look up Neither am I for that matter.
    I don't want Ireland to go the way of Pinochet-era Chile or apartheid South Africa (as detailed in Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine")