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EU steps up pressure on Ireland to hold second Lisbon Treaty referendum
October 12, 2008
Brian Cowen, Ireland’s Prime Minister, must explain to a summit of Europe’s leaders next Wednesday how he is planning to resuscitate the EU Treaty, which was rejected by Irish voters in June.
While the final decision will be taken in December, Mr Cowen will hear demands from France and Germany that a second referendum take place as early as March 2009, before European elections.
Brussels diplomats have warned Ireland that it is isolated after angering other EU countries, such as Britain, by taking controversial financial crisis measures that benefited Irish banks while “dumping on others”.
“The economy might be going into freefall and the Irish really did not help things. Sympathy for their difficulties is running out,” said a diplomat.
According to informal briefing notes circulating in Brussels, EU officials are already in the advanced planning stages for a second vote to be held in Ireland in either Spring or Autumn next year.
One document, seen by The Daily Telegraph, cites Irish sources predicting that Ireland will be offered an “opt-out” on EU defence and security cooperation alongside plans to ratify parts of the Treaty in the country’s parliament.
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