Ireland Will Decide on Possible Second Lisbon Vote Next Month

Ireland’s government will decide early next month whether to hold a second vote on the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty, which the country rejected in a referendum in June, Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said.

“We will make that decision in advance of the December meeting” of EU leaders, Martin said on RTE television in Dublin late yesterday, when asked about a second ballot. EU leaders meet in Brussels on Dec. 11-12.

Ireland’s rejection of the treaty in the June 12 vote effectively vetoed plans to streamline the 27-nation EU’s decision-making process as the accord requires the approval of all member states. A poll in today’s Irish Times shows the accord may be passed in a second ballot if Ireland was allowed to retain its EU commissioner and received assurances in areas including taxation and neutrality.

Forty-three percent of respondents to the poll said they would vote “yes” to the treaty if Ireland received certain assurances, with 39 percent saying they would reject it. Eighteen percent had no opinion. In the June ballot, voters shot down the treaty 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent.

It wouldn’t be the first time Ireland has been down this road. Irish voters in 2001 rejected the Nice Treaty, the EU’s current, more limited governing treaty, fearing it would end the country’s military neutrality. The EU offered assurances to the Ireland, helping the “yes” side to victory in a second referendum a year later.

“We have looked at a variety of alternatives,” Martin said in the RTE interview. Research “has shown up a range of issues people were concerned about.”

The poll of 1,000 people was carried out by TNS/mrbi on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.

source: Bloomberg.com

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