Does the EU Kick Out Ireland If It Votes No?

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 10/01/2009 05:12:00 PM
The answer is obviously no, but I'd like it to if it turns down the Lisbon Treaty yet again. The road to implementing the Lisbon Treaty passes through Ireland. As you probably know, the country once called the "Celtic Tiger" has fallen on very hard times in a remarkable application of my rule of thumb to the original Asian tiger economies--the more they export, the harder they fall. However, as bad things are now, there is worse possible if Ireland votes "No" yet again to the Lisbon Treaty. First up is a recent WSJ article discussing how business interests do not want to be ostracized from the EU, even the EU hating Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary:
Major companies, including Intel Corp. and budget airline Ryanair Holdings PLC, are putting their clout and cash behind a campaign to persuade Irish voters to approve a European Union treaty that Ireland rejected just a year ago—giving a fresh boost to the "yes" side in opinion polls.

The businesses' message: Ireland's economy is too damaged for it to shun Europe by vetoing the so-called Lisbon Treaty again...Jim O'Hara, Intel's top executive in Ireland, says he asked himself what business leaders—the bulk of whom favored Lisbon—did during last year's failed referendum campaign. "The answer was, we didn't do a whole lot," he says...

This time, big business is getting its feet wet. Even Michael O'Leary, the Ryanair chief executive who in kinder moments refers to EU leaders as "idiot Brussels bureaucrats," says his company will spend 500,000 euros ($717,000) on a "yes" campaign; a Ryanair plane will be painted with the slogan "Vote Yes to Europe..."
The expected result for tomorrow should be positive for simple, understandable reasons as Ireland's Eurosnobbery has taken a hit:
At the time of the failed referendum last June, unemployment stood at a manageable 5.9%. Talk was of a soft landing for the once-roaring Celtic Tiger economy. Instead, it has been brutally hard. Unemployment has passed 12%. Real-estate prices have tumbled by a third or more. One major bank has been nationalized, and the government is proposing to spend 90 billion euros—half a year's gross domestic product—to buy the toxic property loans of others.

At the time of the first referendum, voters said, "We're well off, aren't we, the richest little country in Europe," says Michael Marsh, a political scientist at Trinity College Dublin. "Now we're the worst economic collapse in the developed world. It would be a brave people who would vote 'No' now."
The FT has a preview of tomorrow's voting and predicts a similar result of yes to Lisbon. The only thing left in the way of Lisbon if the Irish come to their senses is the Euroskeptic Czech President Vaclav Klaus--also a noted global warming doubter. Alas, these prehistoric tendencies tend to go together.

Europe can be more of a welcome counterweight to the US if it gets its political act together by vesting more diplomatic leverage into the EC. Contrary to constant Euroskeptic blathering, there are many areas where EU diplomacy can be enhanced. Rumsfeld's "old Europe" is, for instance, far more advanced on climate change unlike the still-villainous US. Godspeed Ireland, and may it see the light instead of pondering the imponderable of leaving the Eurozone and getting walloped much, much harder.