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Sarkozy: Irish must vote again on Lisbon referendum

Latest update : 2008-07-16

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said that Ireland will have to vote for a second time on the Lisbon Treaty, a referendum the country rejected a month ago. France began its turn at the EU presidency on July 1.

PARIS - Ireland will have to hold a second referendum
on the European Union's reform treaty after Irish voters
rejected it last month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy
said on Tuesday.
 

"The Irish will have to vote again," he told deputies from
his UMP party at a meeting in his office, several lawmakers who
attended said.
 

The Irish 'No' vote plunged the EU into a fresh crisis of
confidence because the treaty, designed to overhaul the
27-nation bloc's institutions, cannot come into force until it
has been ratified by all member states.
 

Sarkozy, whose country holds the EU's rotating six-month
presidency, is due to travel to Ireland on July 21 to discuss
the reasons for the Irish 'No' vote and seek a solution to it,
which he hopes to put forward by the end of the year.
 

Sarkozy's office said on Tuesday he would not go to Dublin
with a ready-made plan to present to Irish Prime Minister Brian
Cowen, despite a report that planning was well underway.
 

"The president is coming to listen to the Irish, to listen
to what Brian Cowen tells him. He is not coming to make
proposals," one adviser to Sarkozy said.
 

"It is not up to us to make proposals," he added. "It is up
to the Irish to tell us what the problem is and what they need
to resolve it."
 

Irish voters rejected the treaty for a variety of reasons,
ranging from fears that the new EU order would lead to legalised
abortion and higher taxes, to the fact that many of them found
the highly technical text incomprehensible.
 

French newspaper Le Monde said one of the favoured options
being examined in the search for a solution was reversing the
planned streamlining of the EU executive, the Commission, to
keep the current system of one commissioner per country.
 

"The reform of the European Commission should be sacrificed
on the altar of the Irish 'No' vote to the treaty of Lisbon,"
the newspaper said, using the treaty's official name.
 

An official in Sarkozy's office said that idea was "in the
air rather than on the table".
 

Le Monde said offering Ireland guarantees on abortion,
Ireland's neutrality, and taxation was also being envisaged.

Date created : 2008-07-15

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