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21st Apr 2019

Brussels calls for Lisbon treaty ratification to continue

  • Participation in the Irish referendum was 53.13 percent (Photo: EUobserver)

The European Commission has called for ratification of the Lisbon treaty to continue, despite the No result in Ireland's referendum.

"This vote should not be seen as a vote against the EU… [It] has not solved the problems which the Lisbon Treaty is designed to solve," commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said in Brussels on Friday (13 June).

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"The ratification process is made up of 27 national processes, 18 Member States have already approved the Treaty, and the European Commission believes that the remaining ratifications should continue to take their course," he added.

According to final results released on Friday afternoon (13 June), 53.4 percent of Irish people voted against the EU's Lisbon treaty in Thursday's referendum, while 46.6 percent voted in favour.

Participation was at 53.13 percent.

Nevertheless, Mr Barroso said he believed "the treaty is alive" and "we should go on and try to find a solution."

It is "important now that the EU does not fall again in depression and does not forget there are other issues to deal with," he added.

In a joint statement later on, France and Germany also called for the ratification of the Lisbon treaty to continue.

"The ratification procedure has already been achieved in 18 countries. Therefore we hope that the other member states will continue the process," the Franco-German declaration reads.

Britain has already said it would press ahead with the ratification, according to the BBC.

Certain politicians and analysts have started floating other possible scenarios however, with some – such as French prime minister Francois Fillon – saying that the Lisbon treaty is dead if one member state rejects it.

Other suggested alternatives include finalising the ratification in all remaining member states and finding a "legal arrangement" with Ireland – as suggested by French EU minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet, or making the Irish vote again on the document at a later point in time – as it happened with the Nice treaty referendum in Ireland in 2001 and 2002.

In any case, the issue will feature high on EU leaders' agenda when they meet in Brussels next week (19-20 June).

They will then expect Irish prime minister Brian Cowen to "explain the reasons for the rejection of the treaty by the Irish people [as well as] discuss about the situation and look for the ways to move forward," said Slovenian prime minister Janez Jansa, whose country currently holds the EU presidency.

For its part, the commission will soon organise surveys to find out the reasons behind Ireland's rejection of the treaty.

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