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(05/05/08) -

EU Referendum Race Tightens in Ireland

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Fewer Irish adults are voicing support for the proposed common European Union (EU) treaty, according to a poll by Red C published in the Sunday Business Post. 35 per cent of respondents would vote "Yes" in next month’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, down 11 points since February.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Fewer Irish adults are voicing support for the proposed common European Union (EU) treaty, according to a poll by Red C published in the Sunday Business Post. 35 per cent of respondents would vote "Yes" in next month’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, down 11 points since February.

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.

David Cochrane, campaign director of the Libertas group—which opposes the Lisbon Treaty—discussed the survey’s results, saying, "We believe our concerns over taxation, democracy and accountability are resonating. We are focusing on discussing facts, whilst the yes side can only talk about how great Europe has been for Ireland. We agree that Europe’s been great for Ireland, and that’s why we feel this should be preserved by a no vote."

Polling Data

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

 

Apr. 23

Feb. 27

Yes

35%

46%

No

31%

23%

Not sure

34%

31%

Source: Red C / Sunday Business Post
Methodology: Interviews with 1,010 Irish adults, conducted from Apr. 21 to Apr. 23, 2008. Margin of error is 3 per cent.