Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola in Nigeria: First death outside of Lagos

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Niger : Top Oppostion figure to be questioned in baby trafficking scandal

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Liberia: President dismisses top officials who ignored call back

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000 (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: WHO Says Cases Could Exceed 20,000

Read more

WEB NEWS

'Ice Bucket Challenge' angers anti-abortion activists

Read more

#TECH 24

Tomorrow's Transport Today

Read more

FOCUS

Mothers and children leaving Honduras at all costs

Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian invasion

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

  • Pakistan army to mediate between PM, protesters

    Read more

  • PSG face Barcelona, Ajax in tough Champions League draw

    Read more

  • In pictures: Billions of locusts invade Madagascan capital

    Read more

  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie say ‘I do’ in France

    Read more

  • Erdogan sworn in as Turkey's president

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

Ireland puts EU treaty to a vote

Video by Leela JACINTO , Eve IRVINE

Latest update : 2008-06-12

The Irish decide Thursday whether or not to back the European Union's reform treaty. Ireland is the only one of the 27 EU member states holding a referendum on the issue, a vote that is expected to be close. (Eve Irvine reports from Dublin)

Read Thomas Hubert's articles on

1. The Irish referendum

2. Farmers and the "yes" vote

3. The economic arguments behind the "no" vote

 

And find out more about the possible consequences of an Irish "no" vote by watching the FRANCE 24 Debate.

 

Polls opened in Ireland for a key referendum vote over a reform treaty that could determine the future of the 27-member European Union.


Ireland is the only country putting the treaty to popular vote and the “Yes” camp led by most major political parties has struggled to convince voters to ratify a proposal that would create an EU president, a stronger foreign policy chief and a more democratic voting system.

In a bid to pull the EU out of its institutional limbo, the Lisbon treaty replaces the doomed EU constitution after its rejection by French and Dutch voters in 2005. While Irish PM Brian Cowen and other leading politicians insist today that there is "no plan B" in case of the new treaty’s rejection, Nationalist party Sinn Fein has accused them of bullying voters into voting “yes.” 


The last salvoes of the campaign

According to FRANCE 24’s Eve Irvine in Dublin, the “Yes” camp was making final appeals to Irish voters Wednesday. “Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Brian Cowen described Thursday as a historic day for Ireland, as Irish voters decide whether they will remain positive members of the EU or go down a new and uncertain road,” she reports.

Cowen made a last campaign push Wednesday with a whirlwind tour of his home area of the Irish Midlands and later urged people to remember the key part the EU played in Ireland's economic boom in the 1990s.

But critics of the treaty such as nationalist Sinn Fein say voters should not be bullied into accepting the text and should ask the EU to renegotiate the text to protect Ireland’s sovereignty and military neutrality.

While polls show the vote will be a close one, the “No” camp has been boosted by people’s misunderstanding of a very complex text that even Cowen, who only took over from Bertie Ahern as premier a month ago, admitted he had not read cover to cover.


The sticking points of the treaty

FRANCE 24’s European affairs specialist Caroline de Camaret reports from Dublin that Irish voters are worried they would lose their EU commissioner, “their direct link to Brussels” as the European commission would rotate under the new treaty.

Indeed, Declan Ganley, the businessman behind prominent opposition group Libertas, on Wednesday urged people to vote "no" so that Ireland could retain a stronger voice in Europe; a voice he says would be wiped out by the treaty.

De Camaret also points out that the creation of an EU minister for foreign affairs worries voters who are particularly attached to their diplomatic neutrality. “In 2001, the Irish had obtained concessions from the EU on this point when they rejected the Nice treaty,” she reports.

According to Irvine, participation is “particularly important” for the “Yes” camp. When Ireland almost scuttled the Nice treaty in a referendum, only 35% of the population had gone to the polls.

Date created : 2008-06-12

COMMENT(S)