Mr Klaus? It’s Cameron on line 1 and Sarkozy on line 2

Only a guess of course but it’s a metaphor of the situation that will face the Czech Republic on the night of 2 October when the Irish voters approve the Treaty of Lisbon at the second time of asking in a referendum.  And they will approve it.  The opinion polls leave some latitude as to the final margin, but even a generous assumption about the voting behaviour of the “don’t knows” doesn’t alter the prediction that it will pass.

For a number of reasons: the argument that without the EU in the crisis, we’d be like Iceland; some element of last year’s No vote that is now spooked by the idea that a 2nd no vote would be too big a 2-fingered salute to our fellow Europeans, and finally, the major political parties adoping a “first do no harm” principle in their own campaigns — meaning in particular, the ruling party Fianna Fail avoiding last year’s pitfall of irritating the pro-EuropeanLisbon opposition and their voters.

No surprise then that the discussion has already shifted to what happens after the Irish Yes.  Enter yet again that man Vaclav Klaus.  The big story of the informal European Council summit on Thursday was not its ostensible purpose — agreeing a common line for the G20 next week — but the revelation afterwards that caretaker technocrat Czech PM Jan Fischer told the summit that he expects more ratification problems at home once the Irish decision comes through.  The situation was obliquely referred to by Nicolas Sarkozy in his post-summit news conference, although the import of his remarks was perhaps missed due to it being in French, not that it’s hard to understand what he said or meant —

On a eu une explication du Premier ministre tchèque, qui est un homme de grande qualité aussi, sur la situation en République Tchèque et j’ai dit clairement que si les Irlandais répondaient oui, il n’était pas question que nous acceptions de rester dans le flou artistique avec une Europe qui n’aurait pas les institutions qu’elle mérite en pleine crise. Et donc il faudrait en tirer les conséquences. Lesquelles ? Cela sera l’objet d’un prochain rendez-vous.

Paraphrasing: we won’t accept Europe not having the institutions to deal with the crisis and we would have to talk about consequences.

The Sunday Times (UK) spells out the apparent Klaus plan: stall ratification until David Cameron can win an election at which point a Tory government would hold a referendum of their own.  At least one question presented by this scenario: does David Cameron want to hold such a referendum?  Perhaps he thinks that his European Parliament coalition of eurosceptics can ameliorate some of the more ardent anti-EU opinion in his party, though the irony there is that the enhanced powers of the parliament under Lisbon make such a grouping a more powerful instrument.  Then again, in a situation replete with irony, having M. Sarkozy on the phone yelling at him about “consequences” might only cause Klaus to dig in further.  Perhaps all we can say is on October 2, the Irish public will have spoken (again) but a new round of diplomacy will then begin.

10 thoughts on “Mr Klaus? It’s Cameron on line 1 and Sarkozy on line 2

  1. This is my great hope – that Lisbon 2 will be a pyrrhic victory for the elites. Fingers-crossed.

    I see today that even McDowell’s just declared for Lisbon. Must be getting lonely on the sinking ship HMS Libertas, eh, FT?

  2. Too bad that there was no popular vote on Lisbon except Ireland. Too bad that the Irish voters has been manipulated and bullied by all means. Too bad that we ever applied for membership to the European Empire.

  3. I can understand czech fears, less Irish fears. Without Bce support the celtic tiger would be already bankrupt.
    We need a strong Ue in order to not go back in an awful past when the main activity of European countries was to fight each other. And we need a strong Ue to better compete in this new world where giants like China and India are getting more and more powerful

  4. Cameron on Europe is an interestingly gnarly question. I have the impression he really doesn’t give a damn one way or the other. If he wins with a narrow majority, the Tories might have other things on their mind… I don’t know; I defer to those more knowledgeable about Island politics.

    Doug M.

  5. The whole ratification process is a mess. Having referendums in some, but not other nations isnt democratic, it is just bizzare, and its rendered even more WTF by the way nays get rerun. If what we seek is popular legitemacy for institutional change via the ballot box, the referendums should be europe vide, not national, or work in a manner similar to US constitutional amendments where referenda are state based, but only require 3/4ths of states to pass, rather than 100%, because having everything stop if one country votes no by 51 % is just silly.
    On the other hand, I suppose we can just hope that the lisbon treaty passes and ends up being a robust enough framework that we dont have to mess with it again any time soon..

  6. French President Sarkozy recently stated in a Herald Tribune article his belief regarding a “business as usual” policy should Lisbon 2 be defeated. “It’s for the Irish to decide on this [Lisbon 2]..[but] the sky would not fall on our heads, the EU will not collapse or come to a halt. It will be business as usual.”

  7. Pleace vote for democracy and against the treaty of lisbon

    Dear irish people!

    Pleace stop the treaty of lisbon! Is is antidemocartic, militaristic, antisocial. The disadvantages are much bigger, than the advantages. The EU can live with its actuell laws. They should only be changed into a democratic direction. With the treaty of lisbon, the european council is able to change this treaty in great parts without asking the parliament. This is nearly the same law, which mades the nationl- rassistic- party of Germany so powerfull in our country in the year 1933. Our basic law (the german constitution) and all other european constitutions should not be replaced by the treaty of lisbon. But the new treaty tries to bring all right- sytstems in a lower level than the new european right. Here is my informationpage: http://sites.google.com/site/euradevormwald/english . When you have some more english information, pleace send me a link or text or write it into the visitors book of my page. And pleace spread this text all over Ireland.

    In the hope in your activities for a better Europe, Felix Staratschek, Freiligrathstr. 2, D- 42477 Radevormwald (Germany)

  8. Sounds like (to me)

    EU (Roman Catholic backed?)supranational power block. Vote for them and you get supranational mastership but equality and the right to a dignified life (maybe).
    So with them you might get to play XBox but the games might change, and you could only play if you have carbon credits)

    or

    The European Royal elite. Vote for them and you get whatever the elite give you (themselves), whatever that is…maybe an old clock …for themselves!

    Personally, I’d rather live in the andromeda galaxy but the former seems better than the latter.

    But who knows how this all really works. I might have it back the front, but let’s face it, it was never in the monarchies interest to allow me to write on a keyboard and use the internet, unless they’ve changed their ways.

  9. Pingback: Treaty of Lisbon: Endgame | afoe | A Fistful of Euros | European Opinion

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