Ireland and the Treaty of Lisbon

The EU has a lot riding on passage of the Treaty of Lisbon by all its member states. The future of Europe as a strategic actor on the global stage depends on coming up with some sort of solution to the EU’s institutional crisis, and its unlikely that the consensus that Lisbon represents will be reproduced anytime soon. The problem, as with the 2005 Constitutional Treaty, is that in at least several countries, elite opinion on the matter is out ahead of popular resentment towards “Brussels” (the idea, more than the place). Twenty-six of Europe’s member nations have gotten around that little obstacle by agreeing to approve the Treaty by parliamentary majority. Unfortunately for its proponents, however, the EU has twenty-seven member nations. And with ten days left before Ireland votes by referendum on the Treaty, there’s still no guarantee it will pass. This LA Times article (via this morning’s WPR Media Roundup) does a good job of not only explaining why Ireland might say no, but also of anecdotally expressing the same kind of populist backlash I heard in the French countryside three years ago, and that I imagine rings true in small villages across the continent that are increasingly being transformed by globalization. I’ve mentioned the globalization backlash in terms of the developed West reacting with alarm to the shift of power and influence to the emerging world. But if the Lisbon Treaty gets shot down for the reasons suggested by the LAT, it would be due to the internal faultlines caused by globalization. Very interesting development from a “multipolar world” perspective.

More World Politics Review