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5th Mar 2024

Ireland mulls autumn 2009 Lisbon revote

  • Dublin and Brussels are finding it hard to take No for an answer (Photo: EUobserver)

The Irish government is considering calling a second Lisbon treaty referendum in autumn 2009 after securing concessions on the number of commissioners, abortion, taxation and military neutrality, a major Irish daily reports.

Under the plan, the re-vote in September or October next year would come after the June 2009 European Parliament elections, meaning the total number of MEPs would go down from 785 to 736, instead of 751 as envisaged by Lisbon.

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The mandate of the current European Commission would be extended until after the new treaty is in place and EU states would issue a "solemn declaration" that each EU member will keep its own commissioner in the future.

The EU would also annex new statements to Lisbon guaranteeing that small print could not be used to force Ireland to relax its anti-abortion laws, increase corporate taxes or take part in European military integration.

The plan is one of several under discussion by Dublin according to a "senior government source" quoted by The Independent on Wednesday (30 July). "It's shaping that way. It's being kicked around," the contact said.

Ireland has promised to find a solution by the end of the year after some 53 percent of Irish people voted No to the treaty in June.

A July survey showed that 62 percent would reject Lisbon if the referendum was held today and that 71 percent don't want to vote on the subject again.

Dublin risks being isolated on the treaty, with 23 EU member states' parliaments having already given their assent and with the Italian lower chamber also set to approve the document in a vote on Wednesday afternoon.

The Ganley project

Ireland's most prominent No campaigner, Declan Ganley, is currently touring Europe to try and establish a new anti-Lisbon political group in time for the 2009 European elections.

If elected, the wealthy businessman plans to write a reader-friendly, 20-page EU treaty based on the US constitution to replace the esoteric, 400-page long Lisbon text, he said in an interview with Polish newspaper Dziennik.

Mr Ganley told French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Dublin last week that French people would also have rejected the treaty if France had held a referendum. "You may be surprised to hear that he agreed with me," the Irishman said.

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