EU declares Lisbon Treaty ‘revived’ after Ireland revote deal

EU declares Lisbon Treaty ‘revived’ after Ireland revote deal

[JURIST] French President Nicholas Sarkozy told reporters in Brussels Friday at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of European Union leaders that the Lisbon Treaty on EU reform had been "revived" [PDF transcript, in French] after Ireland agreed to hold a revote on ratification [JURIST report]. An initial referendum on the Treaty [official text; JURIST news archive] failed in Ireland in June. Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating European Presidency through the end of December, added:

To do this, we said unanimously that if the Treaty of Lisbon is ratified by all Member States, each state would have a commissioner…

Secondly, political commitments have been given to the Irish on neutrality, on taxation, and on the family. These are recurring themes and important for our Irish friends. And we have put forward a compromise which ensures that everyone will not be obliged to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon all over again. There will be no modification of the Treaty of Lisbon. But at the same time to give legal status to political commitments of the twenty-six member states towards the Irish, we committed to ensuring that when the next enlargement takes place in 2010 or 2011 when Croatia is likely to join us anyway, there will be a new treaty, a treaty of accession, ratified by the twenty-seven Member States, since Europe at that time becomes twenty-eight. We will add to the treaty of accession for Croatia an Irish protocol…

A document signed by all EU leaders commits the Irish government to hold a new ratfication referendum by November 2009 [EUobserver report], the end of the term of the current European Commission. The deal is not without its critics, however – speaking in Prague Friday, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said the effective rewording of the Treaty meant that the current ratifications are no longer valid and the pact had to be rewritten [AFP report]. The Czech Republic succeeds France in the European Presidency on January 1.

An Irish Times poll [report] published in November suggested [JURIST report] that 52.5 percent of Irish voters would approve the Treaty if it were modified so that Ireland kept a European Union Commissioner and clarified Irish concerns over neutrality, abortion, and taxation. 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].