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(04/19/08) -

Three-in-Five Irish Undecided on EU Treaty

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in Ireland have not yet made up their minds on a new common European Union (EU) treaty, according to a poll by Red C published in the Irish Sun. 60 per cent of respondents do not know how they will vote in an upcoming referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in Ireland have not yet made up their minds on a new common European Union (EU) treaty, according to a poll by Red C published in the Irish Sun. 60 per cent of respondents do not know how they will vote in an upcoming referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

In the survey, 28 per cent of respondents say they will cast a ballot in favour of the treaty, while 12 per cent would vote against it.

EU heads of state officially signed the European Constitution on Oct. 29, 2004. The project for a continental body of law was practically abandoned in 2005, after voters in France and the Netherlands rejected the proposed document in two plebiscites.

In October 2007, leaders of the 27 EU member nations reached an agreement on the Lisbon Treaty and Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Lisbon Treaty provisions call for the creation of new posts, such as a foreign policy chief, and a High Representative who will answer to EU governments and serve as vice-president of the European Commission. The Charter will become legally binding in all EU member states except Britain, which negotiated an exemption.

The EU leaders would also choose a president of the European Council for a two and a half year renewable term. This will effectively eliminate the current six-month rotating presidency among member nations. The Lisbon Treaty also provides for the creation of a mutual defence clause, in case one of the member states is attacked.

If all countries ratify the treaty—whether through a referendum or a parliamentary vote— it will become effective in January 2009. Ireland, due to its internal regulations, is the only country that must hold a nationwide vote on the Lisbon Treaty, while other governments can decide whether they want to do the same. Irish voters will take part on the referendum on Jun. 12.

On Apr. 17, European Commission president Jose Manuel Durao Barroso traveled to Ireland to promote the treaty, and urged voters to accept it, saying, "The eyes of Europe, if not the world, will be on Ireland in the run up to June 12. (…) The treaty will greatly simplify the voice and even the face of the EU for the rest of the world."

Polling Data

How would you vote in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?

Yes

28%

No

12%

Not sure

60%

Source: Red C / Irish Sun
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,001 Irish adults, conducted from Apr. 7 to Apr. 9, 2008. No margin of error was provided.