01 July 2008

Sarkozy postpones Visit to Ireland

Nicolas Sarkozy (left) has decided to postpone a planned visit to Ireland to discuss the Lisbon Treaty.

The French President, who has so far refused to be drawn on whether there should be a second Irish vote on the Lisbon Treaty, was scheduled to visit Dublin on July 11th. He will now come on July 21st, which gives him, his administration and the EU bureaucracy ten more days to think and reflect on the new political situation in Europe after the Irish referendum.

The Elysee Palace cited the President's "heavy schedule" as main reason for the postponement. But political observers in Paris and analysts are certain that the French leader, who took over the rotating presidency of the EU today, wants to avoid a rushed decision over the future course of Europe.

Meanwhile the French Ambassador to Ireland has said that the Lisbon Treaty will not be re-written at the EU Summit in October. Yvon Roe d'Albert told the Dail Committee on European Affairs that "once was enough".

He was responding to a question from Labour TD Joe Costello (right), who said it appeared there was going to be a re-run of the treaty rather than a new treaty. Deputy Costello said it seemed there was one law in Europe for large countries and another for smaller ones. When Ireland rejected the Nice Treaty there was a re-run, but there was no question of a re-run when two larger countries, France and the Netherlands, rejected the Constitutional Treaty in 2005.

The French Ambassador replied that there was no division between large and small countries.
Regarding the Lisbon Treaty, he declared that it was not exactly the same situation, as France and the Netherlands rejected the Constitution, which was "more difficult and involved sovereignty".

Holding the EU presidency, France is expected to come up with proposals for a solution to the crisis the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty has caused. But six months are a very short time in European politics and it is more likely that concrete steps towards the re-organisation of the EU will not be made before January 2009, when the Czech Republic takes over the EU presidency.

The Emerald Islander

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