Dear Sir,

FOLLOWING the “no” vote in Ireland over the Lisbon Treaty, I would firstly make clear that I believe in a United Europe, but have some real questions and reservations on national powers/authority being eroded, even given away. Two that immediately come to mind is the proposed five year Presidency and a European “foreign office” linked to a European Armed Forces. On the first, the present six month stint as President by a different nation is not very practical, but is five years too long? If it is a merely head of state position, like the Queen, Presidents of Germany, Italy etc., all well and good, but if having serious influence/say on all other matters, I am not sure if I want one person of any particular nationality wielding such power. That Tony Blair's name for this post has been mentioned is a case in point. As to foreign affairs being controlled by any degree, backed up by a European Armed Forces, can cut across, and be diametrically opposite to individual states. One only has to look at the invasion of Iraq where the majority of citizens in any individual country were against this, and some countries governments over-ruled their publics wishes to enter the fray, but other countries, Germany and France to name but two, were adamantly against it. Would such a European Foreign policy over-rule individual states? Would the European Armed Forces replace NATO? For all it's faults NATO members have the choice to ease back at least, as is in the case of Afghanistan, and where my fellow nationals are sent to risk their lives, should be strictly a “home affair” whilst the Irish public may have surprised us with their “no” vote, the reaction of politicians does not. Already they talk of the possibility of a “second vote,” continuing with the ratification by other member states, etc. when the “rules of the club” state quite clearly that an unanimous vote is required. The Lisbon Treaty therefore is technically (and legally) “dead in the water”, but watch how the bureaucrats wriggle and worm their way to force it through, much as was done when the French and Dutch rejected by referendum the original treaty which lead the way to Lisbon...

Yours Sincerely, Graham Phillips, Palma

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