A former Minister writes about… the EU April 27, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Michael McDowell, former Minister, apparently now a Senator, in the SBP asks a good question. He says that above and beyond Brexit there are different questions that Irish citizens should be asking. He writes:
The Republic badly needs a balanced debate on the future of the EU. Leaving the EU is not an option for Ireland in the foreseeable future, even if Britain opts for Brexit. But we have little or no real debate in this country about the kind of Europe we want the EU to become.
And he sets himself strongly against EU federalists. He also notes that:
If, as a recent poll commissioned by the IT suggests, the Irish people strongly support the right for Ireland to opt out of further EU integration, can we be content with a domestic political debate on the future of the EU from which the mainstream of Irish opinion, which wishes to remain in the EU but does not favour a federalist EU state – is excluded?
I find myself, unusually given former views on both him and the EU, tending towards his position. A federal EU is not, as the EU is constructed at this time and at this point, a welcome prospect. Further integration is largely unnecessary and would exacerbate the existing democratic deficits without remedying them. Exiting the EU is though a chimera, and something that is politically unsustainable as serious policy in this state. To present that to citizens will merely receive a rapid sharp response in the negative. But to argue that this far and no further without fundamental reform along left lines is not by contrast a bad position at all.
I suspect we will see a multi-stranded EU develop with an inner core which shifts slowly towards integration (though countervailing tendencies are already in evidence). Ireland, this state, is in an interesting position being both part of the eurozone but unlikely to follow that core. The pressures of the coming decades will be illuminating to watch.
Meanwhile, on McDowell himself, entertainingly the Phoenix picked up on something we noted the last two or three weeks, that he has been making veiled predictions about a new centre/centre right or ‘pop-up’ party that would ‘fill’ the space vacated by RENUA (and before them the PDs). The Phoenix suggests that he sees himself as leader of said formation, and that his bid to enter the Seanad is of a piece with this.
Perhaps so, though one has to wonder if the last leader of the PDs who also was in the Seanad found that particular location a blessing or a curse in relation to party building. I think the answer isn’t that difficult to work out.