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Democrat - June 2005 (Number 88)

The ratification process must stop

If there is a technicality about continuing the ratification process it must be in international law and based on simple common sense. The current EU is an intergovernmental arrangement. In political terms it would be impractical to carry on with ratification if France, Holland, or both declare they cannot ratify. To have one or more Member States carrying on as though Nice applied and the rest in an EU state with a Constitution is an impossible situation.

This is what happened over Denmark and Maastricht where an opt out was devised and a second referendum held. Ireland voted against the Nice Treaty and was then bullied into a second referendum because the Prime Minister told the Council that he would hold a second referendum. The Irish rules were altered and electorate lied to. Both Denmark and Ireland are required by their national Constitutions to hold referendums on changes which would be caused by EU Treaties.

The only way to carry on the ratification process is for these two Government heads to go to the Council of Ministers, which remains an intergovernmental arrangement, and say they will find a way to ratify the Treaty in the future. Hence the call for the ratification process to continue by the Commission and all vested interests.

One reference of interest is a Declaration in the EU Constitution which is not legally binding and of course is not relevant because the thing has not been ratified. This will not stop the Declaration being pedalled.

Declaration No. 30 reads: "The Conference notes that if, two years after the signature of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, four fifths of the Member States have ratified it and one or more Member States have encountered difficulties in proceeding with ratification, the matter will be referred to the European Council."

There is no legal requirement for the ratification process to continue.

If the Constitution were in place there would no longer be any need for ratification as the EU will have its own legal status, would act like a State and amend the laws and Constitution itself.

All those who support democracy and the right to self determination must ensure the Treaty is killed off and certainly not ask for Britain to hold a referendum. To help ensure this happens every pressure must be exerted to ensure the ratification process is called off at the European Council of Ministers (summit) on 16 June.

As we go to press Britain has announced it will shelve the referendum.