The possibility that the Lisbon Treaty might not survive if it failed the ratification process in any of the EU member states has raised nervous questions all along.
Before the Irish vote, Euronews’ Brussels correspondent dropped round the Irish pub opposite the European Commission headquarters to sound people out. Serbian journalist Dusan Gajic said: “In a certain way Balkan countries can become collateral damage of the non-adoption of the Lisbon Treaty, or if it fails to be adopted in Ireland, and we see already not only enlargement fatigue, but kind of enlargement reluctance in certain member states.” Notwithstanding Ireland’s verdict on the EU’s institutional future, the signing by the presidents of recent members Poland and the Czech Republic was not a foregone conclusion. Yet two of the community’s founders, France and Germany, also harbour reservations about a larger bloc. Analyst Julia De Clerck said: “Even if the Lisbon Treaty isn’t ratified — I mean the enlargement process has been going on under the Nice treaty so far with ups and downs — the problem is really political that we heard both from French President Nicloa Sarkozy and from Angela Merkel in Germany, who has just started the second term, that they don’t want enlargement to proceed unless the Lisbon Treaty is ratified — unless institutional reform is dealt with.” Former Yugoslav republics and Turkey have long sought to become members of the powerful European club, Croatia and Turkey the furthest along in negotiations. The others have yet to begin talks on meeting the EU standards.