Wednesday

26th Jun 2019

Irish vote unleashes flurry of EU activity

Ireland's strong support for the EU treaty in its second referendum has sparked widespread relief in Brussels as well as a flurry of activity as European politicians consider the next moves for complete ratification of the treaty.

"Thank you Ireland! It's a great day for Ireland; it's a great day for Europe," said European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, noticeably sporting a green tie.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Irish voters reversing their referendum vote of last year (Photo: Conor McCabe/Jason Clarke)

Fredrik Reinfeldt, Swedish leader and currently head of the EU, congratulated Irish voters on the result after all the "uncertainty and hard work."

"The Irish people have spoken with a clear and resounding voice," said a relieved Irish prime minister, Brian Cowen, the fate of whose unpopular coalition government was linked to the outcome of the treaty vote.

He called the Irish vote a "declaration of intent to remain at the heart of Europe."

The final vote showed that 67.1 percent voted in favour of the new rules while 32.9 percent voted against, a 20 percent swing to the Yes side, when compared to the country's rejection of the EU treaty last year. Turnout was 58 percent.

With the vote now in the bag, the focus has already switched to the practicalities of implementing the Lisbon Treaty and particularly to the presidents of Poland and the Czech Republic.

Their signatures under the treaty, which has already been passed in the parliaments in Warsaw and Prague, are needed for the new rules to come into force across the 27 nation club.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski's office has already indicated that he will sign the document soon leaving his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus as the likely biggest opponent to the treaty.

The pressure has already started to get him to sign. Mr Barroso said "our member states have practically approved the Lisbon Treaty" before adding that he thought that Mr Klaus would sign the Treaty "in the end."

Mr Reinfeldt, for his part, said he had managed to speak to many European leaders on Saturday but not Mr Klaus. "I have tried to reach him, but it has not been possible."

What next?

The Czech president's delay affects a series of other decisions including the formation of the new commission, whose term expires at the end of the month and the appointment of the beefed-up EU foreign policy chief and permanent president of the European Council, new posts created by the treaty.

Mr Barroso said that as soon as the treaty is ready he would "be ready to form a new commission." But both the current commission's term as well as the current EU foreign policy chief's term can be extended if needed, said Mr Reinfeldt.

"It [the commission's mandate] can be prolonged after 1 November. It has happened on earlier occasions. One should also keep in mind that the high representative, who we have for the time being, [Javier] Solana, has a mandate that expires on 17 October. So also in his case there could be a continuation."

Mr Barroso, Mr Reinfeldt and the Czech prime minister Jan Fischer will meet in Brussels on Wednesday to decide the next steps and discuss the situation with MEPs.

Swedish Europe minister Cecilia Malmstrom is to be dispatched to Prague on Wednesday to "assess the situation."

Mr Klaus, meanwhile, said he thought it was "wrong" that the Irish had voted to give the EU the "right answer," although he said that it "rests" for him "to respect the outcome."

He added: "But my signature is not the order of the day. I will wait for the Constitutional Court's verdict."

Czech senators handed a complaint to the court about the treaty last week. The court is expected in three weeks' time to set a date for a public hearing on the case. The hearing is likely to take place towards the end of November.

Exclusive

EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'

The EU Commission will now spend €3.4m next year to rent cars for emissions testing - after EUobserver revealed that models loaned by the manufacturer were then subject to commercial confidentiality clauses.

EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs

The EU parliament might allow an extra 24 hours for EU heads of government to first come up with the new EU leadership names. Meanwhile, EPP lead candidate Manfred Weber is meeting Angela Merkel and AKK in Berlin for backing.

Opinion

EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights

Behind the smiles and handshakes, the signature of the EU-Vietnam trade and investment deals agreed on Tuesday and to be signed this week have dire consequences for human well-being and our ability to prevent climate and ecological breakdown.

News in Brief

  1. EU warns Turkey as 'Gezi Park' trials begin
  2. EU universities to share students, curricula
  3. Migrant rescue ship loses Human Rights Court appeal
  4. Denmark completes social democrat sweep of Nordics
  5. Johnson offers 'do or die' pledge on Brexit
  6. Weber indirectly attacks Macron in newspaper op-ed
  7. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  8. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  2. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  3. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  4. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  5. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  6. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  7. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  8. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  2. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  3. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  6. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  11. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  12. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us