- Title: VARIOUS: Europeans react to Irish voters rejecting Lisbon treaty
- Date: 13th June 2008
- Summary: TELEVISION SCREEN SHOWING NEWS BULLETIN ON IRISH NETWORK RTE
- Reuters ID: LVA8U1DRX8QQMIEQ6XYX7TU79T2C
- Duration: 00:00:06
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: European Union
- Story Text: Europeans on Friday (June 13) expressed mixed reactions to the news that Irish voters had rejected the European Union's Lisbon treaty, putting plans to overhaul the bloc's institution in peril.
In Madrid, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said that her government's position was 'clearly pro-European' and was in favour of pursuing the treaty's ratification process.
"The government's position is clearly pro-European. We are clearly supporting the Lisbon Treaty because it represents an important step forward to the construction of the European Union," de la Vega told reporters at a news conference following the results of Ireland's referendum.
"The Lisbon Treaty ratification process should continue in all countries which are still pending to ratify it. We also should wait for the European Union Summit of Heads of State and Government due to take place in December and take that opportunity to analyse possible solutions to reinforce the European Union construction," de la Vega said.
European Union leaders signed the Treaty of Lisbon on December 13, 2007 to reform the bloc's institutions and give it stronger leadership, marking the end of a difficult process that has lasted nearly a decade.
The Lisbon treaty was itself an effort to resurrect EU reforms that were torpedoed by French and Dutch voters in 2005.
In Brussels, a staunch group of 'no-vote' supporters cheered the results of the referendum.
British MEP and chairman for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage -- who has campaigned against the ratification of the EU treaty -- said it looked like the people had once more voted against Europe.
"Well, it's all becoming a bit of a habit really, isn't it? Whenever we ask the people they say no and what the politicians do is they keep saying yes. I am delighted of course when you think how the Irish have been threatened and bullied over the course of the last few weeks but they've spoken up for themselves and they've said they don't want deeper political integration so, of course, I am absolutely delighted," Farage told Reuters.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern conceded the vote shortly after midday on Friday as tallies from around the country showed the treaty had been defeated in an overwhelming number of constituencies.
With more than 864,000 votes counted, official returns from Thursday's (June 12) vote showed "No" leading 53.85 percent to 46.15 percent.
"I've got a feeling, I've got a feeling that the people behind this European project are now so extreme, extreme in their view, that we must have a 'United States of Europe' and they couldn't give a damn about public opinion, they don't need consent. My guess is they are going to try and just proceed regardless. And, that is how arrogant and how dangerous the whole European project has now become," Farage said.
In Lisbon, some expressed doubt over the treaty, saying it was complicated and was confusing for EU citizens.
"In my opinion, they (EU) are the ones who know better what they are doing it -- not us. We have to stick to a treaty that was written up by who-knows-who and was signed in Lisbon," said Antonio Gama standing outside Lisbon's Jeronimos Monastery where the signing of the Lisbon treaty took place last December .
"I wish that all citizens in the 27 countries would vote in the same way as Ireland, because I think that the majority of the people who are part of the European Union had doubts and the treaty itself is pretty confusing," Rosado Manjerico said.
Ireland is the only country to entrust its voters with a referendum.
The "No" vote means a country with fewer than 1 percent of the EU's 490 million population could doom a treaty painstakingly negotiated by all 27 member states.
The Lisbon treaty envisages a long-term president of the European Council of EU leaders, a stronger foreign policy chief and a mutual defence pact. Fourteen countries have already ratified the treaty in their national parliaments.
EU leaders meeting in Brussels next week will have awkward questions for Ireland's Prime Minister Brian Cowen.
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