Second Lisbon Treaty on its Way?
Cowen, who said the France, which is the current president of the EU, had also asked the Council of Ministers’ legal services “to see what can be done and what can be achieved”, listed the composition of the European Commission, defence, social issues and taxation as “areas that need to be addressed” to satisfy Irish voters, who rejected the treaty in a referendum held in June. The Council’s legal services are thought to be examining whether declarations or protocols can be drafted on these issues to make the Lisbon treaty more acceptable to the Irish electorate ahead of a possible second referendum.
But Cowen remained non-committal on the idea of a second vote. “We had a referendum on the last occasion [that Irish voters rejected an EU treaty, the Treaty of Nice in 2001] and we have to see where this process that we are now engaged with brings us this time. We’ll discuss it in December when it will be far clearer what the options might be.”
“We will define the elements of a solution in December and I shall have the opportunity to make proposals,” France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy told journalists late on Wednesday.