Lisbon ratification crisis escalates

Day 1 of the French presidency of the European Council is off to a bad start.   It now seems that both the Czech Republic and Poland will have constitutional struggles over the treaty, with presidents who had been assumed to have mainly titular powers deciding to exercise their right not to sign approved legislation and therefore prevent ratification.    Also today, Nicolas Sarkozy postponed his visit to Ireland in a couple of weeks which was supposed to be part of the stocktaking of what went wrong.  Whether the postponement (with its unconvincing “heavy schedule” excuse) is a direct reaction to the Polish delay or simply a way of getting out an awkward trip is not clear — but the prospect of the trip with its undertones of pressure to ratify was galvanizing Lisbon opponents in Ireland. 

It’s interesting to recall that a leaked British memo from a few months ago revealed that the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs had always viewed the French presidency of the Council as a potential loose cannon in the ratification process, so perhaps some quiet advice was sent to the Elysee over the last few days along the same lines.  One other trend seems clear: there was an apparent Franco-German gambit that eastern European countries would be sympathetic to the argument that Lisbon is necessary to accommodate any further enlargement of the EU.  So far, they’re not buying. 

4 thoughts on “Lisbon ratification crisis escalates

  1. It will be interessting to see if those who until very recently pledged their lives to direct democracy, will now cheer on the two presidents when the veto the treaty.

  2. Here in Hungary, communist-era dissident Gáspár Miklós Támás has just started a group bent on having a Europe-wide referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Interestingly, one of the co-founders heads something called the Communist Party 2006.
    (Mr. Támás has come to like Karl Marx in recent years. And, yes, he does appreciate the irony.)

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