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23rd Feb 2019

Irish report backs second vote on EU treaty

  • The Irish could go back to the polls on the EU's Lisbon Treaty (Photo: EUobserver)

A second referendum on a modified Lisbon treaty is the main option for Ireland, according to a report submitted by an cross-party group of deputies in the country's parliament on Thursday (27 November).

The group was set up under the auspices of the Joint Committee on European Affairs with the formal title of the Subcommittee on Ireland's Future in the European Union.

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Dublin will announce its next move on the EU's reform treaty - rejected in Ireland in a June referendum - to the bloc's leaders at their gathering in Brussels on 11 and 12 December.

The parliamentary report does not recommend any particular action to the Irish government but it highlights two possible options - ratification or non-ratification of the document, which needs to get a unanimous backing across the member states so as to come into effect in the 27-strong Union.

Of the two options, the Irish parliamentary report clearly favours ratification, in form of a repeated popular vote. "If a decision is made to hold another referendum, it would be expected that the Government would make an attempt to respond at both domestic and EU level to the range of concerns expressed during the referendum campaign."

Those concerns would be best tackled in a joint declaration by member states attached to the treaty, instead of legally stronger protocols, as their inclusion in the document would have to be confirmed by a re-ratification of the treaty in all member states, argues the Irish study.

Not all members of the special group appointed to analyse the issue agreed with the text, with Sinn Fein publishing their own opinion and the party's MEP Mary Lou McDonald saying that the subcommittee report was "simply a re-articulation of the Yes argument," according to the Irish Times.

The Lisbon Treaty has been so far voted been ratified by all EU countries apart from the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland. czech parliamentary ratification is likely to proceed soon after this week's ruling by the Czech constitutional court confirming that the treaty is in line with the country's constitution.

France as the current holder of the EU's presidency is expecting a deal on the issue at the December summit of the bloc's leaders.

"I think we will reach a very balanced political accord with the Irish that will open the perspective of the application of the Lisbon treaty," France's Europe minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet told the French parliament on Thursday (27 November).

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