What Sarko really said

What Nicholas Sarkozy put to Brian Cowen was very different to the public back-slapping and schmoozing, according to the Irish Times, the only paper that seems to be on the inside track..
While most of the media were diverted by the row over Sarkozy’s alleged “The Irish must call a second referendum” remarks and the supposed affront to Irish sovereignty, Sarkozy was at it again – though this time in private.

From the Irish Times report:

Although the Government is now keen to postpone a resolution until after the European Parliament elections next June,
Mr Sarkozy proposed during private talks that a second poll should be held on the same day. Under the Sarkozy plan, which was made to Irish surprise, the strategy would be announced at the EU summit next December in Brussels.

The timetable is likely to meet with fierce resistance from other member states, particularly those who would lose MEPs if the Nice Treaty rules are used again.

In addition, each EU state would be guaranteed a European Commissioner, while Ireland would also get declarations – which have persuasive effect, but are not legally binding – on abortion, defence and other issues concerning Irish voters.

Furthermore, Mr Sarkozy made clear during a two-hour meeting with Yes and No campaigners that he does not want common EU corporation tax rates, though some common rules to understand the rates in place would be helpful.

While the future is still up in the air, pressure to hold a second referendum continues, if the Irish Times is right.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London