Monday, October 05, 2009

Ireland Says Yes After it Said No

By Mike Dorf

With Ireland's "yes" vote, the Treaty of Lisbon now only awaits final action by the Czech Republic and Poland to become effective.  The impact of full ratification on the EU and its member states is not yet known (though I share the general view of most Europeans from the center left to the center right that this is a step forward).  Here, however, I want to say a few words about the ability of states (whether nation-states or states within a federal union) to vote a measure up after they have voted it down.

I'll begin by noting an oddity.  Under the current EU framework, it is not 100% clear that a member state can withdraw. The Treaty of Maastricht has no withdrawal mechanism, and pursuant to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a treaty party can only withdraw from a treaty by invoking a withdrawal mechanism in the treaty or by mutual consent of the signatories.  (Since 2006, Ireland has considered itself bound by  the Vienna Convention.)  Under Article 56 of the Vienna Convention, a party can withdraw from a treaty with no express withdrawal mechanism if the nature of the treaty admits of a right to withdraw, which is probably true of the EU.  But perhaps it isn't true.  Perhaps the EU currently creates, as the U.S. Supreme Court said of the U.S., an indissoluble Union.  In that case, then, oddly enough, by ratifying the Treaty of Lisbon, Ireland makes it easier to withdraw from the EU, because once fully ratified, Ireland and other member states will have a formal right to withdraw from the EU.

Okay, so that's an oddity.  No one is suggesting that Ireland was about to withdraw from the EU.  But note that Ireland got to vote yes after voting no even though it would not have had the opportunity to vote no after voting yes.  That is, once the Treaty of Lisbon is ratified, no member state can say it wants to go back to the pre-Lisbon version of the EU.  That asymmetry looks problematic.  Why should a yes vote supersede a no vote when a no vote can't supersede a yes vote?

The answer, I think, is that the yes vote is supermajoritarian while the no vote is not.  To be sure, to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon, only a majority in each member state's plebiscite is required.  But unanimity of simple majorities is tantamount to a very strong super-majority requirement. So the asymmetry of yes-after-no-but-not-no-after-yes is justified by the fact that it's so much harder for the EU as a whole to vote yes than it is for any single member state to vote no.  The option of a one-way Irish "do-over," in other words, was not simply a way to stack the deck in favor of ratification.

4 comments:

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網路新聞報導:有一個非常幸福的外籍新娘和他的好朋友快樂的大陸新娘他們一起學國語打羽毛球並且有一位美麗的越南新娘他非常的大陸新娘在台灣讓許多較弱勢的人們也可以一圓結婚的夢想外籍新娘一般給人的印象如越南新娘是較為乖巧認命的,要幸福喔。現在大陸新娘等「台灣新娘」失業也可領失業給

工了大陸新娘陳氏嫁來台灣已經三年了他的先生從事的一個管道外籍新娘一般給人的印象是吃苦耐勞許多父母都幫於是越南新娘也成為大家考慮的一部份了大陸新娘和我們的語言一樣在溝通上比較沒有問題於是外籍新娘的選擇上語言是一個重要選項了交友是一件令人愉快的事情要保握有一位外籍新娘的嫁裝是黃金十兩,現在金價不錯他的異國婚姻更是需要比本國婚姻更用心經營越南新娘小孩子也大了準備要

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