There was only one hot topic of conversation as MEPs gathered in Strasbourg for the June plenary session of the European Parliament, and that was the shock (to some!) result of the referendum held in Ireland on the Treaty of Lisbon. The Irish said no to the new Treaty, successor to the Constitutional Treaty which had itself been killed off by the French and Dutch in referendums.

Our plenary agenda was hastily amended to allow extra time for a major debate on the implications. I was the only Scots MEP to speak in the debate, in the presence of the Presidents of the EU Commission and Council, and I relished the opportunity to make comment.

Should the Lisbon Treaty be torn up? My view is clear; the legal reality is that it has to be!
Under the existing rulebook, EU Treaty changes can only be approved by unanimity among the, now 27, Member States. That principle exists for very good reasons - to ensure that no Member State, however large or small, can be forced to accept fundamental change to the terms and conditions of EU membership against its will.

Given that the Lisbon Treaty is so very similar to the Constitutional Treaty which was rejected by the French and Dutch, I can see little prospect of a credible rescue plan for the Lisbon text. Most commentators agree that, if Gordon Brown had kept the Labour promise of a UK referendum, a similar rejection would have ensued.

This is an issue of credibility for EU leaders, and politicians generally. Is it credible, as some suggest, that Ireland be requested to vote again in order to achieve the "correct" result? I think not. Is it credible to spend years in another period of reflection, and then emerge with a near-identical text under yet another new name? I think not.

The so-called elite of EU politics must surely reflect very seriously on why it is that voters in France, The Netherlands and now Ireland, have rejected Treaty changes described by supporters as 'tidying up', 'increasing transparency', 'empowering citizens and national parliaments' and 'democratising the EU through increasing powers of the European Parliament'.

If the Lisbon Treaty is so difficult to explain, then we must ditch it and draft a clearer text. If the current decision-making framework is too obscure, then we should make more effort to simplify it.

EU membership benefits Scotland to a considerable extent but, mainly due to poor representation by successive UK Governments, there are disadvantages too - such as the Common Fisheries Policy. The EU may spend some years agonising over solutions to this 'crisis'. Scotland, in the interval, will have an opportunity to choose Independence, through which we too, like Ireland, can have the right to a real say on the future shape and direction of the European Union.

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