Irish voters tore up the European Union’s blueprint for the future yesterday in a dramatic and decisive rejection of the Lisbon treaty.The final tally was 53.2 % "no"/46.4 % "yes". So Euro-crats are in a Grade 1 crisis.
The result leaves Brussels’ plans to streamline EU power – creating a president and foreign minister and reducing the influence for smaller countries such as Ireland – in tatters.
Yet, we've seen this movie before: Hans-Gert Pöttering, the president of the EU parliament, wants to mandate the treaty by threat or exclusion:
The rejection of the Treaty text by one European Union country cannot mean that the ratifications which have already been carried out by 18 EU countries become invalid. The ratifications in the other EU Member States must be respected just as much as the Irish vote. For that reason, the ratification process must continue in those Member States which have not yet ratified.One problem: the treaty does not become effective unless ratified by all member states. So France and Germany are urging a re-vote. That's exactly the tactic Euro-crats chose when Ireland's electorate rejected the Nice treaty in 2001.
For its part, the Irish Government together with its European partners will now be required to make proposals as to how to proceed from here. The Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held next week in Brussels will have to address the situation after the Irish referendum and will offer the Irish Government an opportunity to take stock and put forward proposals.
The more fundamental objection to such a scheme is that the Irish results represent the will of the people, and the Irish "No" vote is surprisingly popular among ordinary Europeans. But that is little more than a speed-bump in Brussels: "When the Euro-elite wants something, 'no' is considered a temporary answer, 'yes' a permanent one." Ironic that the Union encompassing Athens and Runnymede still suffers from a "democracy deficit."