Pass the parcel

UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband provided indication today of the emerging EU strategy for dealing with the Irish No to Lisbon: it’s being left up to the Irish government to sort it out, but with a reminder of the high stakes should they choose to accept the referendum result.  Or, as Miliband colourfully put it

If you like he’s [Irish PM Brian Cowen] got to decide whether or not to apply the last rites. We’ve got to listen to his analysis of what went wrong

Yet Miliband also insisted that UK parliamentary ratification would go ahead next week, which will be hard to defend from Tory attacks that it reflects a presumption that the Irish will be talked out of their rejection, since otherwise ratification is pointless.   One wheeze floated in yesterday’s Telegraph (see also) is that Ireland would be left on the sidelines as the other 26 agreed to implement Lisbon on their own, with the Irish catch-up taking place by attaching the Lisbon provisions to an Irish parliamentary ratification of Croatia’s EU accession, whenever that happens.   But the fact that such schemes are out there is just one indication that the ministers don’t yet really have a well-laid out plan for how to proceed.

Today’s events in Ireland

AFOE readers interested in following the fallout from the resignation of Taoiseach (PM) Bertie Ahern and not familiar with the usual Irish sources may want to consult my post a couple of days ago for a little background (mostly in the Lisbon context) and then head to RTE, the Irish Times, and the Irish Election blog for continuous updates and commentary.  Bertie will be taking questions in Dáil Éireann (lower house) this afternoon (1545 BST — during the soccer) and it will be carried live here.