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Ireland agrees to hold second referendum on EU reform treaty

[JURIST] Ireland has agreed to hold a second referendum on the European Union reform pact known as the Treaty of Lisbon [official text; JURIST news archive], according to draft materials circulated by the French government ahead of a meeting of EU government leaders [press release] in Brussels Thursday. France holds the European Union Presidency [official website] through the end of December. A draft summit text quoted by AFP says that "The Irish government is committed to seeking ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of the term of the current commission." The document indicates that in return for a revote Ireland would be guaranteed a European Commissioner [AFP report] under a revised arrangement of a plan that originally envisaged only two-thirds of EU countries having a Commissioner at any one time.

An Irish Times poll [report] published in November suggested [JURIST report] that 52.5 percent of Irish voters would approve the Treaty of Lisbon [text; EU backgrounder] if it were modified so that Ireland kept a European Union Commissioner and clarified Irish concerns over neutrality, abortion, and taxation. In June, 53.4 percent of Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty [JURIST report] in a referendum. In 2003 Ireland famously conducted a revote on the Nice Treaty [backgrounder] on the institutional arrangements for EU enlargement after initially rejecting it in 2002. Ireland has been the only nation to hold a referendum to approve the Lisbon Treaty. All 27 EU states must ratify the pact for it to become binding. In November, Sweden became the 24th EU member to ratify the treaty [JURIST report].

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