French President Nicolas Sarkozy is on his way to Dublin for potentially difficult meetings in an attempt to understand why the Irish voted “no” to the EU reform treaty last month. France holds the rotating EU presidency and has been handed the task of finding a way out of a crisis, which leaves the Lisbon Treaty in a vacuum.
However, Sarkozy’s trip has been overshadowed by a row over remarks he made at a meeting of his UMP party, where he said the Irish have to vote again. His comments sparked “quiet fury” among Irish politicians, and opponents of the treaty were openly outraged by what they see as outside interference.
The French president is on a mission to “listen and understand”. Few in the Irish capital expect a breakthrough as just one hour has been allocated to meetings with supporters and opponents of the treaty.