Thursday, 11 December 2008

Ireland made to vote again

EU leaders are in town today for the end of term European Council meeting - the constant hovering of helicopters outside the office window and blaring of police sirens is always a sure tell tale sign of their arrival and movement across Brussels.

On the agenda is some hefty dossiers - the climate change package which we need to see a deal reached on and the EU's response to the economic crisis with its economic recovery plan. But before that there is the issue of Ireland's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum last June to sort out. I genuinely feel for Ireland - being made to find a way out of the impasse when its people have already said, in a democratic vote, to the government, no we don't fancy this Treaty.

I'm not going to say much on this as we already know that Ireland has been given a number of legal guarantees on those issues of concern expressed by the Irish, i.e. neutrality, tax policy, social, ethical and family issues. There was also agreement about each Member State being able to keep its own Commissioner in future European Commissions. These are to be written into a protocol together with Croatia's accession treaty to the EU in 2010 or 2011.With these guarantees Ireland can now proceed to asking its people again to vote in another referendum on the Lisbon Treaty before November 2009. This is no way to do business in the EU and is frankly disappointing.

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