Europe’s future is up in the air until this second referendum has been held – originally planned for December 2009, it now seems like the Irish government tends to an earlier date. As a result of the strong influence of the world economic crisis on the country, public opinion turned in favour of the European Union. To take advantage of this, the next referendum is supposed to take place much sooner than expected, maybe even linked to the elections for the European parliament.
When talking about the Irish “No”, one must also mention a prominent figure that not only influenced the Irish referendum but also plays a role in the EU election campaign. It is Declan Ganley who I’m talking about. The Irish businessman and multimillionaire funded the campaign against the Lisbon treaty and now has founded the Euro-sceptical party Libertas. As a qualification for the EP elections, a party has to nominate candidates in at least seven European countries. Libertas has met this condition in February 2009. However soon afterwards, two of the candidates, Igor Gräzin and Mincho Hristov, denied being members of the party. Hans-Gerd Pöttering, president of the European parliament, has induced inquiries which are still ongoing.
In addition, Libertas does not meet the national conditions for the EP elections in all countries. In Germany, 4000 signatures would have been needed for an approval, yet only 3500 had been collected. Instead, Libertas forms alliances with small national parties. In Germany it is the Christian AUF-Partei (Party for Labour, Environment and Family) who plays this role. Last week Declan Ganley came to Frankfurt to launch the campaign – and guess who else was there? Eva Herman, a German author and journalist, known for dubiously approving statements about the Nazi’s family policies. Will this prominent assistance help Libertas to gain more support in Germany...? I rather doubt it.