By Henry Samuel in Paris
President Nicolas Sarkozy of France angered politicians in Ireland by declaring that the country will have to hold a second referendum on the Lisbon treaty.
“The Irish will have to vote again,” Mr Sarkozy told deputies from his UMP party in a meeting in his office, several of those present confirmed.
He also said he would “veto any enlargement” until a new treaty had been pushed through.
Mr Sarkozy, whose country holds the EU’s rotating six-month presidency, is due to travel to Ireland next week to “listen” to why the Irish rejected the Lisbon treaty on June 12.
Last week he said he hoped to find a solution to the Irish issue by the end of the year saying time was running out[…]
Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs Micheál Martin said he couldn’t comment on Mr Sarkozy’s reported comments, but that the government was examining “all the options” following the rejection of the Lisbon treaty.
“It would be extraordinary if Irish voters were made to vote twice on this EU Treaty before British voters got to vote once”, said Britain’s shadow foreign secretary William Hague, who said getting countries to vote twice in the hope of them changing their minds was not “very democratic”.
“The best thing for EU leaders to do is simply to respect the Irish people’s verdict, drop this deeply unpopular Treaty and get on with delivering what matters to people, like healthier European economies”, he said.
Mr Sarkozy’s office yesterday sought to put a more diplomatic spin on the President’s unequivocal comment, insisting that he would not go to Dublin with an action plan to present to Taoiseach Brian Cowen, despite reports that a ready-made plan is being drawn up.
Sarkozy calls the Irish “Bloody fools”
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Has Europe’s terminal crisis begun with a triple no vote?
The attempt to override the triple “No” votes of the French, Dutch, and Irish peoples has brought the EU to a systemic crisis of legitimacy. A line too many has been crossed. Any sentient citizen can see that the process has become unhinged.
Well might Mr Sarkozy rail at the Irish. “Bloody fools. They’ve been stuffing their faces at Europe’s expense for years and now they dump us in the s***,” he yelled.
Mr Sarkozy still thinks that Ireland can be made to vote again in a few months. Who is the bloody fool?
Yes, the Irish voted twice on Nice. That was another world. The Nice “No” came below radar, on a tiny turnout, after scant debate.
This time the contest has been electric. The Irish were warned day after day that rejecting Lisbon would be catastrophic. They rejected it any way, by national instinct, unwilling to sign a blank political cheque.