Three part solution emerging for Ireland’s Lisbon dilemma

After the mea culpa from the Irish government already noted here , the proposals for a deal on the Lisbon Treaty are ready, according to a French government leak to the Daily Telegraph. Next month Brian Cowen will tell his fellow heads of government that Ireland can’t meet the deadline of next June’s elections to the European Parliament for a second referendum. That’s the bad news. The solution though looks like a good deal if only he can deliver it.

“The European Council on October 15th. … council would adopt a political declaration confirming that the treaty does not endanger Irish neutrality nor the rule on unanimity concerning fiscal policy, and that it would not force Ireland to legalise abortion.

After a second Irish referendum, the council would decide that all member states would continue to be represented by a commissioner after 2014.”

With a hand like that, it looks like game over but politics doesn’t always work out like that. Some other governments may object. An October 09 referendum means the June euro-elections have to be held on the basis of a 736 seat Parliament under the Nice treaty rather than 751 under Lisbon and a new commission would have to be postponed for a year. And then again, politics being especially volatile these days, the Irish people might say No again, plunging the Republic into a real political crisis.

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

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