29th Sep 2023

Sarkozy: No new commission president before Irish Lisbon re-run

  • "I love Mr Barroso (l) very much," Mr Sarkozy (r) said (Photo: © European Community, 2008)

The next president of the European Commission should not be appointed before Ireland's re-vote on the Lisbon treaty, French president Nicolas Sarkozy said on Sunday (1 March), while reiterating his support for current commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso.

"As regards the different candidacies, as you know, we are subject to the decision of our Irish friends on the ratification of the Lisbon treaty ...Depending on that, we will ask ourselves questions," Mr Sarkozy told journalists following a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.

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Ireland is expected to announce when it will hold its second referendum on the treaty by a June meeting of EU leaders at the latest. Irish citizens rejected the document in a first referendum last summer.

The second vote is expected sometime in autumn, although there has been intense debate about whether to hold it earlier to cash in on fears Irish citizens have about the effects of the economic crisis.

The next president of the commission was meant to be chosen at the June summit, a few weeks after the European Parliament elections.

But the Irish vote will determine whether the EU will stick with the current Nice treaty - which foresees a reduction in the number of commissioners - or move to the Lisbon treaty.

Agreeing the commission chief later in the year is set to delay the whole of the new commission which is supposed to come into office at the beginning of November.

Mr Sarkozy suggested it would be more cautious to wait anyway.

"I did a lot so that Ireland revotes, I was very much criticised about that ...I think that if we want to be a little clever [now], it is better to wait for the Irish vote rather than decide before they vote," he said.

"If we want to be blamed by everybody, let's do it. If we didn't understand what is happening, let's do it [appoint the president before the revote]," he added.

The French leader, who has previously backed the current commission president for a second mandate, reiterated his support for Mr Barroso.

"I do not change [my mind] like that," he said.

"I love Mr Barroso very much, I loved working with him [during the French EU presidency in the second half of 2008], I trust him and I trust the commission."


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