Ireland joined the European community in 1973, as a poor country. Its economic rise, with help from richer partners funnelled through Brussels, earned it the nickname ‘Celtic Tiger’. It became one of Europe’s — and the world’s — wealthiest countries per capita.
Euronews asked Sebastian Kurpass, a political expert, whether the Irish appreciation of European assistance was helpful in promoting support for the Lisbon Treaty, he said the Yes camp’s aim was off. “Gratitude is not a very good argument in a campaign. It’s more about of what we gain or what do we lose. These kinds of argument sell much better,” he said.
The head of the liberal group in the European Parliament, Graham Watson, said this does not mean a No result in the referendum would be a disaster. “I don’t see it as a doomsday for the European Union,” he said. “But I do see it as perhaps a moment in which certain European countries will decide that they wish effectively nothing more than a European economic area, while others will clearly want to proceed towards a greater political union, knowing the benefits that it gives to their citizens.”