Tonight I am giving a speech to the Iona Institute in Dublin about how Christians should   interact with the European Union.  Some people see the European Union as secularist and unsympathetic to religion. They are mistaken in this belief. In fact the latest EU Treaty, the Lisbon Treaty specifically commits the Union to a dialogue with the churches. A full copy of the speech is separately posted on the website.
I was disappointed to read in today’s papers that President Obama said did not want the Copenhagen summit on climate change to produce a legally binding Treaty. This is because a Treaty can only be ratified by the United States with a majority of 66 out of 100 Senators, and the President does not think he can get 66 Senators to agree.
He may be right in this calculation, but is it reasonable that the world  should be prevented from having a  Treaty on this subject because of a provision in the constitution of one country, which was drafted in the eighteenth century when there was less need  for international Treaties because there was much less  globalisation?
Most other countries allow themselves to ratify international treaties by a simple 51/49 margin.
The same  66/33 requirement explains why the United States, which proposed the  setting  up of the League of Nations  in  1919, could not  join it itself in the end, because it  could not get  66 of  100 Senators to  agree. The world might have had a different and better history if the US had joined the League of Nations.
This aspect of the United States constitution should be changed. As long as it continues it is going to be a big obstacle to making the  sort of Treaties the world will need if  we are to  govern an increasingly globalised and interdependent  world, not just on climate change , but on all the  other  problems are not stopped by international  borders.

John Bruton

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