Irish people say no to the Treaty of Nice

Posté lun 11/06/2001 - 00:00
Par admin

On Friday evening the unified Europe has been hit; by a referendum, Irish people have said they were against the ratification of a treaty which requires unanimity of the fifteen countries.

Will the treaty of Nice, which has been so toughly achieved last December, be called into question ? Is the broadening of Europe, which is prepared by this historical treaty, endangered ? This is what we could fear, on Friday evening, as the result of the referendum organized in Ireland was very clear: Ireland, by 54% of votes against 46%, is clearly against the ratification of the Treaty. But, for the Treaty of Nice to be implemented, all the 15 countries of the European Union have to ratify it before late 2002.As Denmark and for MaastrichtLast night, the result of this referendum (Ireland is the only country which had to decide of the ratification by referendum) has made the European Union really embarrassed. All the more as a vote like this one was not expected. Nevertheless nothing is done. The same problem was posed in 1992 about Denmark with ratification of the Treaty of Maastricht. Danish people had obtained a "decision" from the European Council which allowed them to "clarify" some points of the Treaty and which offered them the possibility to use some saving clauses in advance. Then, a second referendum had been organized and had allowed Denmark to join Maastricht in May 1993.It seems that the E.U. is heading towards the same solution for Ireland. All the more as votes of Irish people have not been considered as a rejection of Europe. Arguments which were in favour of the no were the fear of losing more sovereignty to Brussels, the tax harmonisation (Dublin which benefits from low taxes was of course hardly favourable) and especially the creation of a European force which would put Ireland out of its traditional neutrality. The latest point was particularly sensible while Dublin has committed itself to provide one thousand men to the future European force.To write an additional "protocol"As soon as last night, Dublin has declared they did not want another renegotiation of the Treaty but the solution of a second referendum. The Irish government has said that they were ready for organizing this new referendum if they had some "clarifications". According to some sources, to make the state of minds of voters changed, there should be a paragraph indicating that the participation of Irish soldiers to a common European force must be approved by the Parliament before.According to the analysis that the Dublin authorities will make of the poll, it could be possible to write an additional "protocol" to the Treaty of Nice to take fears expressed by voters into account. Then, this "protocol" would have to be approved by European Heads of State and of governments gathered together in an usual or special summit, then it would be added to the current Treaty. A new episode for a Treaty of Nice which is definitely implemented in pain…

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