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Ireland for Europe Campaign Director, Pat Cox, has said that the Lisbon Treaty is specifically designed to rebalance the existing treaties so that market forces would be matched by extra social protections.

Mr Cox told a meeting of the Association of European Journalists in Dublin today (September 10) that a rejection of the Treaty would mean that the more heavily-market driven agenda in the Nice Treaty would prevail.

Mr Cox went on to suggest that Socialist Party MEP, Joe Higgins, who has admitted to misquoting a key article in the Charter, as revealed by the leader of the CPSU trade union, Blair Horan, certainly misunderstands, whatever about misrepresenting, the implications of the Charter for workers rights.

“Not only has Joe Higgins been exposed by a leading trade unionist as having ‘rewritten and falsified it {the Treaty} for his own purposes,” he also wants to reject the progressive provisions in Lisbon which call for “a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress,” said Mr Cox, whose independent people’s campaign is calling for Yes vote in the referendum on October 2nd.

“The Treaty also states that in defining and implementing its policies and activities it has to take into account “the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion, and a high-level of education, training and protection of human health.” (Article 9)

“These are entirely new provisions, not in the Nice Treaty, which will have to be taken into account by the Commission when drafting proposals, by the Council and the Parliament when they are voting and the European Court of Justice when they are asked to decide on cases.”

“This legally-binding re-balancing between market freedoms and social protection is precisely why the likes of SIPTU, ICTU and the European Trade Union Confederation have said that Lisbon is an improvement on the existing Treaties and why they are advocating that workers vote Yes to enhance their rights under EU law.”