Foreign Policy Blogs

Untying the package?

Untying the package?For the first time the incoming French EU Presidency has talked of unravelling the Lisbon Reform Treaty to accomodate Irish concerns. Speaking  in Brussels, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet said that the outcome of his President's visit to Ireland in July would clarify whether “there is a need to reopen or not to reopen the Treaty”. In their campaign against the Treaty, opponents had long stressed that the Irish government should renegotiate the pact to achieve “a better deal” for Ireland, notably the retention of an Irish Commissioner. At the European Council meeting in Brussels on June 19th and 20th, EU Heads of State and Goverment – most vocally French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – had vehemently argued against reopening talks on the Treaty, pointing to the fact that exemption clauses for Ireland might be a way forward.

Already the Poles are using the Irish ‘No’ as an argument against accelerating the final steps in their national ratification process. The Polish government proved particularly tough in the final stages of the negotiation toward the compromise which constitutes the Lisbon Treaty. With doubt now spreading over how best to proceed, the Polish President has said he would hold off on pushing ahead with the last step in his country's ratification process until it was clear that the Treaty would pass in all remaining countries. Many EU Member States have had amend their Constitutions, or in Poland's case modify laws that regulate the collaboration of the legislative and executive branches of the government.

In the UK, meanwhile, Eurosceptic millionaire Stuart Wheeler has lost his bid to force Gordon Brown's hand in putting the Lisbon Reform Treaty to a referendum.  Although Wheeler has sworn to appeal the High Court's judgement that the Treaty showed "nothing'' in the claimant's case to cast any doubt on the lawfulness of ratifying the treaty without a public vote, experts believe ratification in the UK will go ahead as planned.



Cathryn Cluver

Cathryn Cluver is a journalist and EU analyst. Now based in Hamburg, Germany, she previously worked at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, Belgium, where she was Deputy Editor of the EU policy journal, Challenge Europe. Prior to that, she was a producer with CNN-International in Atlanta and London. Cathryn graduated from the London School of Economics with a Master's Degree in European Studies and holds a BA with honors from Brown University in International Relations.

Areas of Focus:
Refugees; Immigration; Europe


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