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EU treaty up on blocks, leaders earnest but jovial

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 EU treaty up on blocks, leaders earnest but jovial
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Ireland’s foreign minister has said do not count on his country to propose swift solutions to its voters’ rejection of the Lisbon Treaty. It was hard to tell from European Union leaders’ apparent good humour at their summit in Brussels that the vehicle built to carry the bloc into the future had just tanked.

But some at home have said Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen is in a strong position to seek a deal that addresses their objections to the Lisbon Treaty.

Cowen said: “We agreed that it is necessary for Ireland to have time now to analyse last week’s vote, and explore options. In doing that we will be consulting widely at home and abroad. It is far too early yet for anyone to put forward proposals.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown carried good tidings from Britain, which had just completed ratifying the treaty in parliament.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said the talks were not all about institutional reform:

“We are going to put important matters regarding the most important concerns of our citizens and this is about energy prices, it is about the cost of living, and we believe we can do something together.”

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel dismissed suggestions the 27 EU states might have to resort to a “two-speed Europe”.

Barroso warned that adapting the treaty would be “extremely difficult” and said he expected more talks at an October summit, by which time France will hold the rotating EU presidency.