Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Israeli strikes on Gaza as seen on social media

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Israel and the Palestinians: How to Break the Cycle of Violence?

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Somalia : Al Shebab attack on presidential palace

Read more

FOCUS

Sharia law to be enshrined in British legal system?

Read more

ENCORE!

How a comedy dud became one of France's biggest box office hits

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya: Clashes at anti-government rally in Nairobi

Read more

WEB NEWS

ISIS leader challenged over expensive-looking wristwatch

Read more

  • Israeli airstrikes continue in Gaza as rockets intercepted over Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

  • Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • Alps Murder wife had ex-husband who died on same day

    Read more

  • Both candidates say they won Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Brazil players should never wear 'sacred uniform' again, press says

    Read more

  • Exiled Syrian opposition elects new president

    Read more

  • Ukraine imposes new conditions on peace talks with pro-Russia rebels

    Read more

  • Sarkozy's UMP party 'almost €80 million in debt'

    Read more

Europe

Europe's powers banking on Ireland 'yes' vote to avert crisis

©

Video by Neale DICKSON , Hervé AMORIC

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-10-01

Ireland's Prime Minister Brian Cowen (photo), a proponent of the Lisbon Treaty, is out campaigning for a "yes" vote ahead of Ireland's referendum. The faltering Irish economy may push voters toward ratification.

Reuters - Europe's big powers are banking on Irish voters backing reforms to make the European Union a stronger
player on the world stage and avert a crisis they fear could paralyse the 27-nation bloc.

 

Irish approval for the EU's Lisbon treaty in a referendum on Friday would clear an obstacle to streamlining decision-making and put pressure on the Polish and Czech presidents to follow other EU leaders by signing it into law.

 

Rejection could delay moves towards closer EU integration and enlargement, and undermine public and investor confidence, at least briefly hitting the euro currency.

 

"There's a sense it's going to be a 'Yes' vote," Hugo Brady, of the Centre for European Reform think-tank, told Reuters.

 

"A 'Yes' vote would allow the EU to improve the way it makes decisions, particularly in foreign policy," he added in a
research note. "A 'No' vote would lead to recrimination, policy paralysis and probably a freeze on further EU enlargement."

 

If the treaty is rejected, he said, leaders would be divided and distracted from urgent tasks such as responding effectively
to the global economic crisis and making a success of talks on a new global deal to combat climate change.

 

Plans to develop the EU could be frozen and the bloc could struggle to project itself as a global economic power. Investors
could sell off the euro because of uncertainty about Europe's future.

 

Opinion polls suggest Irish voters will back the Lisbon treaty, partly because many say being in the EU has helped
Ireland through the global economic crisis.

 

But leaders of EU states that have already backed the treaty are taking nothing for granted because Ireland has already
rejected it once, in June 2008, and are avoiding saying anything that might be seen as interference and cause a voter backlash.

 

"It's not all over yet," said Roland Freudenstein, a political analyst at the Centre for European Studies.


Fighting irrelevance

 

The Lisbon treaty was drawn up after Dutch and French voters rejected a draft EU constitution in 2005. It would supercede the Nice treaty, agreed in 2000 to help cope with enlargement.

 

If ratified by all EU states, the Lisbon treaty would amend voting rules to ease decision-making, which has become unwieldy following the accession of 12 countries since 2004.

 

It would also create two new posts -- a president of the European Council of EU states' leaders and a high representative for foreign affairs.

 

Even Irish support would not clear all obstacles to the treaty going into force because Polish President Lech Kaczynski and Czech President Vaclav Klaus have so far refused to sign it.

 

"A 'Yes' would in effect clear two obstacles, Ireland and Poland, because Kaczynski says he will sign the treaty if
Ireland backs it. Whether Klaus would then back it is less clear," Freudenstein said.

 

"If there's a 'No' vote, all dynamism would be lost. We'd talk ourselves into some kind of paralysis."

 

Klaus could try to hold out until Britain holds a parliamentary election next year which is expected to be won by the eurosceptic Conservative Party, his potential allies.

 

The EU could find other ways to push through reforms, just as it did after the draft constitution was rejected in 2005.

 

But the changes could be delayed for years at a time when unity is being sought to maintain Europe's influence in the new
world order that is taking shape following the economic crisis, giving China and other emerging powers more say.

 

"Europe is facing stark choices in today's interdependent world. Either we work together to rise to the challenges. Or we
condemn ourselves to irrelevance," Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the executive European Commission, said this month.

Date created : 2009-09-29

Comments

COMMENT(S)