Expert Says 'Yes' Vote Not In Ireland’s Interest

An outspoken former Danish MEP has said a 'Yes' vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum would not be in Ireland's interests.

Jens Peter Bonde has written a book outlining what he says is a readable version of the treaty, which will be put to a referendum in Ireland on June 12.

Speaking about his book and his recent visit to Ireland, Mr Bonde accused Commission President José Manuel Barroso of spreading misinformation about the treaty, saying he "mislead" and was "positively wrong" on the issue of protecting Ireland’s low corporation tax – a policy commonly conferred with the responsibility of precipitating the Celtic Tiger.

The former MEP said: "The new Art. 113 TFEU about taxes add a new phrase of 'and to avoid distortion of competition'. This is a clear invitation to the European Court to out-law the very distorting low Irish rate."

Mr Bonde further points out a protocol which "includes a system ensuring competition is not distorted". He believes changes in protocols and articles in the new treaty will mean Ireland is running a serious risk of signing an agreement almost certain to rob itself of one of the architects of its success.

"So, if I was Irish and interested in the low corporate tax - which I am not - I would propose a strong protocol to protect the low rate. It is not difficult to foresee an attack from another country - or company," he said.

Mr Bonde added a 'Yes' vote would allow bigger EU member states to vote against the smaller countries on policies such as agriculture, trade, foreign investment as well as corporation tax.

He also said EU politicians will try to reintroduce the treaty with some concessions if the Irish electorate decides to vote 'No'.

Last week, Ireland's EU Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, admitted that he has not read the Lisbon Treaty and added "no sane person" would read it anyway, while the Taoiseach Brian Cowen had previously admitted he has not read the treaty either. The Tánaiste, Mary Coughlan, gave inaccurate answers on the number of EU Commissioners this week, revealing she also had not read the crucial document.


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