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TUAEUC digest 12/03/08

Irish referendum to take place in June

The Irish government has indicated that the country's referendum on the EU treaty is to take place in the second week of June. The Irish media are suggesting it will probably fall on 12 June. The British House of Commons passed the treaty on March 5 after only 248 MPs voted for a referendum amendment on the Lisbon Treaty, 311 voted against. Only 29 Labour MPs found it possible to keep the promise they made to their electorates in 2005 by backing the call for the referendum promised in their manifestos.

British Airways using EU rules to ban legal strike action by pilots

British Airways is claiming that BA pilots, who voted by 86 per cent for strike action over Easter, cannot legally pursue their job security concerns because of EU legislation. BALPA General Secretary Jim McAuslan said: ‘British Airways should be at the negotiating table and not using European legislation designed to ensure free competition between companies and not to restrict the freedoms of Trade Unions in industrial disputes.’

Court case could delay ratification in Germany

Constitutional lawyer: Lisbon Treaty weakens national parliaments' powers

EUobserver reports that the pending case against the Lisbon Treaty in Germany 's Constitutional Court may mean that the document cannot enter into force before 1 January 2009 - the agreed deadline - as the country's President, Horst Kohler, may choose to follow the tradition and wait for the Court's decision before signing off the document. The complaint was launched by Peter Gauweiler of the Christian Social Union, who claims the Treaty is incompatible with the German Constitution. Peter Gauweiler's lawyer is quoted as saying, "This treaty weakens democracy in European politics, especially national parliaments' right to have a say."


Kouchner: Lisbon Treaty will give Europeans "military means commensurate with their political ambitions"

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has a comment piece in various newspapers. He argues that "The Europeans needed military means commensurate with their political ambitions. How could we hope to influence a crisis or negotiations without the means to back up our words?"  He notes that the renaned EU Constitution will allow the Union to assume this capability: "The European Security and Defence Policy inscribed in the Lisbon Treaty is finally allowing us to meet this need. In the future, if we wish to do so, the EU will be able to fully assume its role on the international scene." The body of a French soldier who was part of the EU military mission in Chad was found last week after he went missing since his vehicle strayed into Sudan .

IHT Le Monde

TUAEUC has produced a new pamphlet outlining why trade unionists should demand a referendum on the renamed EU Constitution. It has also produced a document arguing the democratic case against the EU Constitution (below) and copies of both are available free on request