11 junho 2008

will win

The No camp is leading the polls, although by a small margin, in the Irish referendum to the Lisbon Treaty to be held tomorrow. This is the only EU country where the Treaty will be subject to a referendum. In all other countries it will be ratified by Parliaments.

There is no country which has benefited so much from the European Union than this small, fiercely Catholic country of four million people. When Ireland joined the EU it was one of the poorest of its members, roughly at the same level of Portugal. It is now the most developed country in the EU, as measured by the Human Development Index (and fourh in the World), the second in GDP per capita (after Luxembourg), the second in terms of the Index of Economic Freedom (after the UK) and the first in the EU and in the whole World in terms of the Quality of Life Index. This was an extraordinary achievement over the last twenty years.

And yet, I believe the No camp will win tomorrow. This camp has been using very strong, fearful arguments for a fiercy Catholic population, namely, that the Lisbon Treaty will make abortion legal, will legalize euthanasia and gay marriage, and will allow the imprisonment of young teenagers. It is also feared that the Treaty will put an end to the special tax treatment that corporations enjoy in Ireland which largely contributed to its economic success.

However, the basis for my guess that the No will win tomorrow is of a different nature. Ireland's economic success under the EU was largely the result of the EU being seen as the Authority without which no Catholic country can progress for long. Now, that the recession is hitting Ireland too, a good Catholic people like the Irish will resort to blaming the Authority - that is, the EU. And the Lisbon Treaty will be failed.

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