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The Lobby poll on the Irish referendum closed on Sunday, and you may (or may not be) pleased to know that our results were almost identical to that of the actual poll on the emerald isle.
For The Lobby poll, 66% voted yes to the Treaty, 31% no, and 3% would have spoilt their ballot paper.
In the official referendum, 67% said yes and 33% said no (presumably the other 1% spoilt their ballot paper – we cannot be sure).
Either way, if the Treaty needed any further bolstering it can look to our poll as representing an alternative voice of the people. Now what do you have to say about that Mr Klaus?
October 2nd. Mark it in your diaries, for this is the date when the Irish will ratify – or not – the Lisbon Treaty.
After rejecting it in a referendum in 2008, a volte face looks likely according to the latest polls published by the Sunday Business Post which put the yes vote at 62%, the no vote at 23%, with 15% undecided.
If Ireland votes yes, you can pretty much expect the Presidents of the Czech Republic and Poland to fall into line and sign off the Treaty, though not without some snide remarks and some well-practiced playing to the media – not to mention their own electorate – about how the big bad EU has forced their hand.
Assuming this all passes off without too much of a furore (actually quite a big assumption), it’s all systems go for 27 Commissioners, one for each Member State, not to mention a new High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and a new President of the European Council.
If Ireland votes no…..the fun and games really do begin. With the Nice Treaty stipulating that henceforth there should be fewer Commissioners than Member States, some countries will have to forego their Commissioner. So what if the Commission is meant to be neutral? National prestige still holds sway in Brussels, and any losers in this horse-trading will want to be handsomely recompensed.
Much has been made of the EU decision-making process breaking down should the Irish vote no, but there is no reason for this to happen as it seems to be working perfectly fine at the moment. Ireland as a country might be in the dock for a short while, accused of being a eurosceptic nation, but this is not necessarily true either – they’re just Lisbon Treaty-sceptic.
Wolfgang Münchau in the Financial Times describes himself as an unenthusiastic supporter of the Lisbon Treaty, and that’s probably what the Irish will turn out to be on 2nd October. But how to transform this defeatist attitude into a positive affirmation about the EU and everything it stands for? That’s the challenge now facing the European Commission and its recently re-elected President Barroso.
You could almost bet on it… Following the German Constitutional Court issuing a landmark ruling in response to the Maastricht Treaty in 1993, today’s ruling on the Lisbon Treaty again testifies to the central role Karlsruhe – the seat of the Court – plays in EU matters when asked.
Whilst most attention was focusing on the second Irish referendum, Europe seemed to lose sight of the case that had been pending before the German Constitutional Court for many months. Indeed, it was often mistakenly reported that Germany had already ratified the Lisbon Treaty, but since the challenge against the German law transposing the Lisbon Treaty had been brought forward by a group of MPs and lawyers, President Köhler had announced his intention not to sign anything before Karlsruhe’s verdict on the matter.
Now what is this ruling all about? First, Köhler’s signature will have to be further postponed, effectively meaning that the ratification process in Germany is temporarily suspended. This is because laws that strengthen the participatory powers of the German legislature will have to come into force first.
The complainants have praised this judgement as a great success in their fight against the apparent erosion of the influence of the democratically elected German legislature on decisions made in Brussels. Now, it rests on this very legislature to pass the relevant legislation very rapidly if the Treaty is to be ratified in early 2010 at the latest. Just imagine what effect a delay would have on the second referendum in Ireland and the decisions in Poland and the Czech Republic!
The Irish might be warming up towards the Lisbon Treaty, but to quote Pat Cox “this is not because the public has started to read the Lisbon Treaty for bedtime reading”.
The current economic meltdown had a great deal in shifting Irish minds and reviving their European feelings. Pragmatics, the Irish now seem to consider that “a small economy, in these big economic storms, benefits from being in a safe harbor”. Whether the current momentum will be maintained until October when they are likely to vote yet again, only time will tell. Meanwhile all eyes are on the Irish ship as it navigates the high seas in search for its safe harbour, wherever it may be.