Dublin has announced it will hold a second referendum on the European Union’s Lisbon reform treaty on October 2. It failed in the first one, last June, but polls suggest its chances are better now, against a backdrop of recession.
The Prime Minister referred to the public’s misgivings: “Since the outcome of the last referendum, our overriding objective has been to work with othersto address concern expressed by the people. I believe that these concerns have been addressed now in the shape of the legal guarantees that have been agreed by the 27 heads of state and government of the European Union, and on that basis I recommend to the government that we return to the people to seek their approval for Ireland to ratify the treaty.” The treaty to streamline EU decision-making and raise the bloc’s world profile needs to be ratified by all the member states, and yet the ‘no’ campaigners triumphed in the first referendum, with 53 percent of the vote. The re-run makes opponents angry, though many of them came out of the European elections badly. While the Irish government has promised to campaign more informatively this time, the country’s European Commissioner said recently: “the ordinary people of Ireland know a damn sight more about the intricacies of the European framework than nearly all (the others)”.