Irish reaction mixed on treaty comment

DUBLIN, Ireland, July 16 (UPI) -- A call by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for a second Lisbon Treaty referendum was met with mixed reactions Wednesday in Ireland.

The country was the only one of the 27-member European Union to have a public vote to ratify the proposed treaty, which would streamline the EU's governance structures to accommodate its expansion. Irish voters defeated it last month and Sarkozy commented Tuesday that they would "have to vote again," the BBC reported.


France holds the rotating six-month EU presidency and Sarkozy reportedly wants to get the Lisbon Treaty passed during that time. Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen reacted diplomatically to Sarkozy's second-vote comment, saying there were "many views across Europe about the problems we face."

But other Irish leaders criticized Sarkozy. Opposition Labor Party leader Eamon Gilmore told the BBC the French leader had "seriously put his foot in it." He and other EU critics see the treaty as evidence of a federalist, pro-integration agenda, the broadcaster said.

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