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Ireland rejects EU treaty by 53.4%

Latest update : 2008-06-14

Official results confirm that Irish voters have rejected the European Union's Lisbon treaty by a 53.4% majority. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso insisted, however, that the ratification process should continue.

What do you think of the Irish results? Click here to share your opinion and read the reactions of others.

The Irish rejected the Lisbon treaty on reform of the European Union on Thursday. According to local media, the official results were 53.4% for “no” and 46.6% for “yes”.

The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, nevertheless called for other European countries to continue with their own ratification processes. He stressed, however, that the commission “respects” the decision of the Irish voters.

In a joint declaration, France and Germany said they were disappointed with the “no” vote and hoped that the ratification process would move forward as planned. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker says that he does not expect the Lisbon treaty will not take effect on January 1, 2009 as planned.

Ireland is the only EU member to hold a public vote; it is required by the country’s constitution. All other EU countries chose to ratify the treaty in the parliament, with 18 already having done so. All eyes were on Ireland, awaiting the result of this crucial vote. The treaty cannot function without the agreement of all 27 members of the EU.


"David against Goliath"

“It’s a great victory for Europe,” declared the president of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams, to FRANCE 24. He was reacting to the results from Dublin Castle, an impressive 18th-century complex that serves as the principal seat of the Irish government.

“It was David against Goliath,” added Adams, whose party was the only one to defend the “no” position. To him the important thing “is that the treaty cannot move forward in its current form and that the government must renegotiate it according to the desires of the people.”

Gauthier Rybinski, FRANCE 24’s international affairs editor, said: “There has been imbalanced economic development in Ireland, largely due to Europe. Some feel less fortunate than others, and that’s responsible for this ‘no’ vote.”

France and the Netherlands rejected a similar treaty in 2005. Rybinski says that Ireland’s rejection could be due to the fear of an eventual “identity crisis”.

“The Irish, staunch Catholics, fear that Europe could impose its liberal views on their country. For example, the right to an abortion,” Rybinski adds.

Europe
risks a constitutional impasse. Thierry Chopin, director at the Robert Schuman Foundation, says the agenda of the French EU Presidency – which begins July 1 – could be pushed aside. “The treaty provided for the creation of European institutions,” said Chopin.

Date created : 2008-06-13

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