In referenda in 2007 the French and the Dutch people rejected proposed changes to the EU Constitution which would lead eventually to the creation of the Euro. Following this Brussels abandoned the treaty and a new form of words, the Lisbon Treaty, was drafted which was the same as that put to voters in France and Holland but ‘rearranged’ so it could not be understood by the general reader.
The new treaty was then smuggled through both Dutch and French parliaments without asking the people again.
A previous President of France Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, alarmed at the possibility that anybody might actually take notice of voters, something almost unheard of inside the French establishment, unless people take to the streets burning and looting, explained;
“The Treaty of Lisbon is thus a catalogue of amendments. It is impenetrable for the public. In terms of content, the proposed institutional reforms are all to be found in the Treaty of Lisbon. They have merely been ordered differently and split up between previous treaties.”
The Irish however were obliged under their terms of their constitution to hold a referendum – which they did, with the following result;
Brussels was very angry about this and threatened Ireland with bankruptcy if they did not vote correctly, which they duly did a year later, this time with the ‘correct’ result.
The treat was then ratified, the only national representative not to sign at the ceremony attended by all of Europe’s heads of states was Prime Minister Gordon Brown ,who having previously denied a referendum by the British people, flew secretly to Lisbon later to sign it in semi secrecy.
We are about to do exactly the same as the Irish, getting it ‘right’ the second time in a referendum. It is what the EU intended from the outset as did Mrs May.