BRUSSELS, June 19 (Reuters) - The European Union should
forget about adding new member states until it has resolved
Ireland's rejection of a treaty designed to overhaul the bloc's
institutions, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday.
But the prime minister of Slovenia, the current holder of
the EU presidency, said the impasse created by Ireland's
referendum last week should not slow the process of enlargement.
Turkey and Croatia are currently negotiating their accession
to the European Union, with several other countries in the
Balkans forming a queue to join too.
Sarkozy has long expressed his opposition to Turkey joining
the bloc, even if the prospect remains many years away.
"No Lisbon (Treaty), no enlargement," he told reporters on
Thursday, at the end of a first day of an EU leaders summit in
Brussels dominated by discussions of the Irish vote.
The Lisbon Treaty was agreed last year by leaders after
years of wrangling over how to make the EU more manageable but
needs approval by all member states to come into effect.
"I would find it very strange for a Europe of 27 (countries)
that has trouble agreeing on workable institutions to agree on
adding a 28th, a 29th, a 30th, a 31st, which would definitely
make things worse," Sarkozy said.
France is due to take over the EU presidency on July 1.
Croatia is furthest along the road towards joining the EU
among candidate countries and it hopes to conclude negotiations
Janez Jansa, prime minister of current EU president
Slovenia, which neighbours Croatia, said the Irish vote should
not set back the enlargement calendar.
"Basically, I don't think there is any reason for those
candidate countries which have been fulfilling the rules and
have been negotiating for accession should slow down the
process," he told reporters.
"I don't see any reason why we should focus on enlargement
issue here. This should not be a victim," Jansa said.
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said he expected
negotiations with Ireland on what it might do regarding the
Lisbon Treaty would take place in the first half of 2009.
The Lisbon Treaty was designed to give the bloc stronger
leadership with a long-term president of the European Council of
EU leaders, an enhanced foreign policy supremo with a real
diplomatic service, easier decision-making rules and a greater
say for the national and European parliaments.
Concerns about enlargement were cited when French and Dutch
voters in 2005 rejected an EU constitution that was later
reworked into the Lisbon Treaty.