In an Irish pub just opposite the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels, some of the patrons think the public’s perception of Europe as offering a financial safety net will help get the Lisbon Treaty ratified at home. Euronews asked the corresponent with Irish national radio and television for his assessment.
Tony Connoly, RTE correspondent, said: “The Celtic tiger has been shattered almost overnight and that has been very sobering for the Irish electorate and many people will vote ‘yes’ because they feel we cannot do without Europe in this crisis. They feel that Europe has been good to Ireland economically and we can’t turn our back on Europe in this time of crisis.” Lisbon Treaty detractors have repeatedly stressed that the EU is about bigger states bullying the smaller. But this analyst does not share their opinion. Daniel Keohane, with the European Union Institute for Security Studies, said: “I think in fairness these smaller states do quite well out of the Europe Union. The fact that all those rules are there insures that the big states behave themselves. So in that sense that’s the beauty of the EU. This insures that everybody has a fair playing field. So, in general I would argue small states have actually been big beneficiaries. The trick is, not just for people in Brussels, but for governments to explain why the EU is in people’s interest. And that’s really what’s been missing I think in the debate in general.” Ireland’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty this Friday will either clear an obstacle to EU reforms or plunge it into deeper political crisis. The Lisbon treaty has to be ratified by all 27 EU member states before it can go into action.