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Minutes of EU Constitution, GATS Meeting, 8.11.2003

category national | irish social forum | press release author Thursday November 13, 2003 17:23author by EU Constitution/GATS working group - EU Constitution/GATS working group Report this post to the editors

Minutes of EU Constitution, GATS Meeting, 8.11.2003

Minutes of EU Constitution, GATS Meeting, 8.11.2003

Minutes of a Meeting on the European Union / GATS / European Union Constitution (agreed after an Irish Social Forum workshop @ the Cooperation & Solidarity Summit on October 1719 2003)

Meeting held @ the Teachers’ Club, 36 Parnell Square on Saturday November 8 2003

Attendance :
Mary Begley, Harry Darcy, Carmel Duggan, Barry Finnegan, John Fitzgibbon, Niamh Harnett, Joe Kelly, Mary Kinane, Paul Kinsella, Nicholas Lethelier, Éamonn McCrudden, Aidan McKeown, John Meehan, Ciarán Moore ,Conor Ó Bríain, Mark O’Connor, Annemarie O’Meara, Jean Somers, Martin Walsh, Brendan Young

Apologies :
Aoife Ní Bhroin, Roibeárd McClory.

The meeting began with introductions from Brendan Young and Barry Finnegan.

Brendan Young was nominated to chair the meeting, and John Meehan agreed to take the minutes.

People introduced themselves; with some briefly, explaining what they hoped would come out of the day’s meeting.

Brendan and Barry were asked to do a brief background introduction on the subject.

The key points are :

Changes in General Agreement on Tariffs and Services (GATS) provisions are contained in the new draft European Union Constitution. This big package is due to be agreed between the European Union member states in December. A referendum must take place in five European Union member states, including Ireland.

There is a chance the Government will hold the referendum alongside the European Parliament Elections scheduled for June 2004.

Governments can change the draft text up to December, but no substantial changes are anticipated. The main disputes between member states concern :

The number of European Union Commissioners

Comprehensive information is contained in a document drafted for the Assembly of the European Regions by Dr. Franz-Josef Stummann (web link http://www.a-e-r.org/)
[Brendan has pasted the relevant information on to the Irish Indymedia site : www.indymedia.ie)]

Highlights :

- Important changes for education under the EU-Common Commercial Policy

- No further exemption of Education, Health and Social Policy

- Council now can decide by Majority and overrule objections of individual member states

The European Convention, in its final sessions on 13 June und 10 July 2003, adopted a draft of a "Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe". The text (Conv 850/03) was published on 18 July 2003 and submitted to the European Council the same day

A wide ranging discussion followed the introductions.

Issues raised included :

Previous European Union referendums in Ireland - lessons to be learned, especially Nice Treaty Mark I and II.
Why is there no European Wide uproar over these proposed changes?
Can we make alliance with like minded people in other European Union states where a referendum will take place?
How do we ensure there is no alliance with people opposing this for unhealthy and reactionary reasons (for example the far- rightists and racists active during the Nice referendums?
Can an Irish “No” block the entire process?
Do we need a Dáil after this? (loss of power/sovereignty)
Should we concentrate on the GATS / Anti-Privatisation issue? How do we address broader issues covered by the treaty? What about negative results of decisions already taken – for example in the treaties of Nice and Amsterdam?

It was agreed to invite Dr Stummann to a public event organised by our group on Saturday December 6 next – any later date in 2003 would be unrealistic because of the Christmas holiday period.

A sub-committee was formed to follow this up and report to the next meeting. Members are Éamonn McCrudden, Conor Ó Bríain, John Meehan, Barry Finnegan, and John Meehan.

Further sub-committees will be established to cover :

Education and Research (for Three months at least)
Media and Outreach
Briefing Papers needed on :
a) Education health and the Culture/Arts b) Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) c) Approval of Commercial Policy

The following important dates were noted :
National Forum on Europe : November 19 – speakers include the European Union Commissioner and ex Hong Kong governor Chris Patten.
DCU event, December 11
Defence event – January 15 2004 - speakers include European Union military guru and ex NATO Chief Javier Solana.
Ministerial Meeting – January 23 2004.

John M agreed to set up a “yahoo” mailing list as soon as possible, and to circulate minutes.

It was also agreed to publish the minutes on the Indymedia site.

The next meeting is on Saturday November 15 @ 2.00pm in the Teachers’ Club, 36 Parnell Square.

author by thohjuhpublication date Fri Nov 14, 2003 11:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

for giving some idea of what the constitution's about (i didn't have a clue)

Is the Defence event mentioned taking place in Galway? (there's an EU summit on here around that date)

Also December 6th is the Shannon blockade so maybe you shouldn't have a public event that day.........

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