Monday, June 16, 2008

EU Foreign Ministers vow to keep treaty alive

European Union foreign ministers said today they would keep the Lisbon Treaty alive despite Ireland's No vote, but conceded they had no quick fixes for rescuing it.

Their monthly meeting in Luxembourg was a first opportunity for EU officials to start picking up the pieces after last Thursday's referendum cast doubt over the survival of the treaty.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin insisted it was "far too early" for proposals on salvaging a treaty which will not now come into force on January 1st as planned.

"The people's decision has to be respected and we have to chart a way through. There are no quick fix solutions," he said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hoped for a solution this year and suggested a re-vote might be possible after adaptations to the treaty to address Irish concerns.

"There are thoughts about whether the Danish model of 1992 might be a model," he said, referring to wide-ranging opt-outs granted to Denmark that enabled the Danes to endorse the Maastricht Treaty after an initial referendum thumbs-down.

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