EWEA's opinion: Ireland’s approval of the Lisbon Treaty makes Europe stronger, more efficient
Thank you Ireland; now let’s get on with the job. That was the sentiment of a relieved European Commission President José Manuel Barroso after hearing that Ireland had Friday given a strong vote of support to the Lisbon Treaty.
The new treaty, which Ireland had narrowly rejected last year, is designed to reform the European Union and give the 27-member bloc more influence internationally.
It will also improve the EU’s ability to deal with global problems of an increasingly complex nature such as the ongoing economic crisis, energy security for a growing population and destructive climate change caused by burning fossil fuels.
In addition, new permanent posts created for a president and a foreign minister will
help raise Europe’s profile which is necessary as the demographics of the 21st century are already revealing that rapidly developing nations such as China and India are rightfully assuming more power on the world stage.
Friday’s ‘yes’ vote received the blessing of 67% of those who cast ballots. Last year, before the full state of how the economic crisis was negatively affecting Ireland became fully known, there was a 53% ‘no’ vote.
“It's a great day, for Ireland and for Europe,” Barroso said. “The Irish people have spoken. They have said a resounding yes to Europe.”
“I believe that the European Union needs the Lisbon Treaty so that we can be more effective, and more accountable, in delivering an agenda that produces concrete results for our citizens.”
Noting that all Member States have now democratically approved the Lisbon Treaty, either by popular or by parliamentary vote, Baroso said he hoped that the heads of state from Poland and the Czech Republic would also quickly give their approval.
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) is also pleased by Ireland’s acceptance of the Lisbon Treaty since it will promote and consolidate EU energy policy as international negotiators try and reach a new, stronger post-Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gas emissions in Copenhagen in December.
EWEA noted that the Lisbon Treaty will strengthen the EU’s energy policy which aims to, among other things, ensure security of energy supply in the trading bloc while promoting energy efficiency and the development of renewable forms of energy.
As a result of a more efficient energy market with better connected energy networks, EWEA believes the wind power industry can further help the EU, and Ireland, reach its renewable energy targets.
Now that the Lisbon ratification process is all but completed, EWEA reminds the EU it could increase energy security by re-directing huge sums of public money currently spent on dirty, imported fossil fuels into European investments like wind power and other renewables. The EU should take this into account when reviewing its budget in 2010. On Wednesday 7 October the European Commission will announce a big increase in funds for energy research: a positive sign that this financing shift from fossil fuels to renewables may already be starting to happen.
By increasing funding for renewables, EWEA adds, Europe could help mitigate the escalating environmental ravages associated with climate change while creating hundreds of thousands of new well-paying jobs and continuing to spur on much needed research that will help the region retain its international leadership role.
With the positive Irish vote now behind us, the path to a healthier future for Europe is now clear. As Barroso said, let’s get down to work.