September 11, 2009
The Vice-President of the European Commission Margot Wallstrom has today given an extraordinary interview to the Irish Herald, in which she attacks “false statements” from the ‘no’ side, and then goes on to pretend that Ireland is having a vote on its membership of the EU, rather than a Treaty.
In what reads like the lyrics of a love ballad, she says: “Ireland would be so much worse off without Europe…. Maybe we don’t tell you often enough: We want Ireland in the EU … Ireland being in the EU, to the rest of the EU, it means so much.”
It also reads a bit like a threat to kick Ireland out if it does vote ‘no’.
The paper says: “The Swedish politician is in Dublin to seek support for the Lisbon Treaty.”
But the European Commission has repeatedly claimed in no uncertain terms that it does not get involved in national referendums.
See here for example, where the Irish Commission office claims: “It has been the long standing policy of the European Commission not to interfere in internal elections or referenda in Members States”.
Or here, where Wallstrom’s spokesperson Joe Hennon says: “There will be no advocacy or publicity campaign ahead of the second referendum.”
We look forward to reading the full interview tomorrow, which, according to the Herald includes how the European Central Bank is prepared to put “an enormous amount of money” in Ireland and “Ms Wallstrom’s view that Charlie McCreevy must regret his loose tongue.”
No doubt she is referring to McCreevy’s admission that 95% of EU countries would have rejected the Lisbon Treaty if their citizens had been allowed a say on it. Or perhaps his statement yesterday evening at Gresham College, when he said that last time around “Irish people in their wisdom decided… against the advice of everybody and said No.”
We can only wonder how Mr McCreevy will feel about being publicly chastised by his colleagues for speaking his mind in his own country.Author : Open Europe blog team