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Ireland should have followed UK in seeking 'ever closer union' opt-out: Think tank

By Colm Kelpie

A think tank has asked why Ireland failed to follow the UK in securing an opt-out from the EU's "ever closer union" clause.

The Hibernia Forum said that while it supported the UK remaining part of the EU, committing to ever closer union meant that member states had undertaken to potentially transfer sovereignty to Brussels.

"We disagree with the blank cheque approach to future transfers of powers to the EU that the treaty commitment to ever closer union represents," said the analysis by think-tank chairman Cormac Lucey.

"And we ask why, when Britain recently won an opt-out from the commitment to ever closer union, the Irish government didn't also seek this concession?"

The paper stated that the EU was "increasingly failing" the test of whether it was better for countries to do things together.

"The original commitment to a free-trade area - and its expansion into the Single Market - made good economic sense," it explained, claiming that it also added to the freedom of individuals to travel, seek jobs and settle across the EU".

But the paper added: "Developments since 1992 have hindered rather than helped the lives of ordinary Europeans.

"Each of those developments has been characterised by the same underlying philosophy: one size fits all. Rather than cherish diversity, Europe's master-planners lust after uniformity."

However, it concluded that it was in Ireland's interests for the UK to remain part of the EU.

Belfast Telegraph

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