The European Union’s Lisbon treaty is under threat, according to the latest opinion polls ahead of Ireland’s referendum on the pact.
Ireland is the only member of the 27-nation bloc holding a popular ballot on the agreement, and if the ‘No’ vote holds sway it would be the end of the line for the treaty. The ‘No’ camp has seen a jump of 17 percent, while support for the treaty is down by five points.
The Irish Prime Minister, Brian Cowen; Ireland’s three main political parties; the Congress of Trade Unions; the farming lobby and business confederation all support the treaty. However, opponents believe loopholes mean the country will lose control of tax, trade, abortion to Brussels, and its military neutrality.
Supporters say they are scaremongering. In a last ditch attempt to get a ‘Yes’ vote, Cowen has resorted to appealing to the Irish people’s largely pro-European instincts. Brussels can only watch and wait for the result on June 12th.