I will listen and learn, says President Sarkozy as he heads for a potentially hostile trip to Ireland today. As EU President, Sarkozy has the task of finding a solution to the crisis sparked by the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. He has even hinted that Ireland should hold another referendum.
The Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen was non-committal: “I think obviously, President Sarkozy – on the remarks attributed to him – has a view, and obviously we have to talk to him as President of the European Union about those remarks.”
Sarkozy’s off-the-record comment irritated the Irish government, while opponents of the treaty were openly outraged at what they saw as interference in Ireland’s affairs.
Lisbon must be ratified by all 27 EU members before it can come into force. Sarkozy has said the Irish vote must be respected, but he added that 23 states HAVE ratified the treaty, and their democratic will must be acknowledged as well.