In Ireland, Europe’s biggest budget airline, Ryanair, has climbed on board the campaign to give the Lisbon Treaty wings. Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary dismissed what he called a lot of mumbo-jumbo in it; For him the clincher was concern over Ireland’s economy.
In a referendum last year, (as required by its constitution), Ireland rejected the treaty designed to streamline EU decision-making, but will vote again this October. The latest opinion polls show that most Irish voters are in favour of Lisbon now. Needing EU support in times of record recession is cited as a common motivation. Prime Minister Brian Cowen announced October 2 as the date for a second referendum after winning concessions on key Irish policy areas including corporate taxation. The Irish unit of Intel last week joined pro-treaty efforts. Lisbon opponents also launched their joint campaign — with a focus on economic policy.