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The Irish section hosted Libertas Chairman Declan Ganley and Brendan Butler, Director of EU and International Affairs with IBEC at its May lunch meeting on Friday, May 23.

Arguing for a ‘No’ vote in the Lisbon referendum on June 12, Declan Ganley said that under the Common Commercial Policy, Ireland for the first time gives up the right to legislate on inflows of foreign direct investment from outside the EU, threatening our long-standing ability to attract high-value, technology-focused jobs to this country. Under the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, he said the future FDI policy of the European Commission may prioritise FDI flows to other developing states in Europe on the grounds of economic convergence and implement criteria which will identify Ireland as a comparatively advantaged state.

Arguing for a ‘Yes’ vote, IBEC’s Brendan Butler described the Lisbon proposal of rotating Commissioners equally between all Member States as “a massive win for small countries”. He also hit out at certain opponents of the measure, who claim to have voted yes for all previous treaties, despite the fact that the principle of a rotating Commission was a key provision of the Nice Treaty, which Ireland endorsed in 2002. “Mr Ganley cannot have it both ways. He cannot on the one hand say he is pro-EU and has voted in favour of the Nice Treaty, while at the same time opposing a measure in the Lisbon Treaty, which confirms the principle of a rotating system he himself claims to have voted in favour of,” he said.