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EU/Ireland

Ireland to go back to polls, but EU makes concessions

Article published on the 2008-12-11 Latest update 2008-12-11 17:04 TU

People wearing masks depicting France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (L), Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown (C) and his Irish counterpart Brian Cowen (R), take part in a protest against European Union leaders' plans to look for a fresh vote by the Irish on the Lisbon treaty(Photo: Reuters)

People wearing masks depicting France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (L), Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown (C) and his Irish counterpart Brian Cowen (R), take part in a protest against European Union leaders' plans to look for a fresh vote by the Irish on the Lisbon treaty
(Photo: Reuters)

The treaty which aims to streamline the workings of the European Union and consolidate the workings of a number of other existing treaties was rejected earlier this year, with 53.4 per cent of Irish voters saying no.

At an EU summit in Brussels Thursday a draft statement offering Ireland a number of concessions will mean Irish voters are to return to the polls by the end of October 2009 to ratify the treaty.

The concessions include an agreement that each member state can retain their own commissioner, legal guarantees on taxation and social policy and details on a defence policy with regard to Ireland’s traditional policy on neutrality.

Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen will lay out the concerns of the Irish at the summit while other EU leaders are expected to request that it be ratified by the end of October 2009 in order to enable the enforcement of the treaty by the end of that year.

Ireland is the only country which constitutionally required a full referendum on the treaty as well as a parliamentary vote.