Ireland and the Lisbon Treaty

One of Nicolas Sarkozy’s first major European successes upon taking office last year was the negotiaiton of the Lisbon Treaty, which basically amounts to a do-over of the EU Constitutional treaty that was torpedoed by French and Dutch referenda in 2005. If approved, the Lisbon Treaty will basically free Europe from almost a decade of institutional paralysis that has basically cost proponents of further European integration ten years of precious time. Sarkozy managed to have the new treaty passed by parliamentary vote here in France this past February, causing a minor outrage but no lasting fallout.

Ireland, on the other hand, has committed to passing the treaty by popular referendum, and as AFOE’s P.O Neill explains, things are looking pretty dicey right now:

. . .The government will be going to the country sometime this summer asking for a Yes vote — with the Celtic Tiger wheezing, the head of government mired in rumour and legal complications, and with perhaps the prospect of personal gain (the Council position) should the referendum pass. . .

Hence the signs of growing unease in the pro-Lisbon camp.

That sounds an awful lot like the situation here in France back in 2005, when the structurally anti-EU electorate was reinforced by a large faction of voters who just wanted to give the Chirac government a black eye.

As usual when it comes to EU integration, none of the ruling elites have given any thought to the idea that the masses might not be as enlightened to Europe’s obvious advantages as they are. Or to the idea that sometimes voters cast their vote for issues that aren’t on the ballot. Either way, if the Lisbon Treaty goes down in flames, it’s hard to see how the EU picks up the pieces.