By Hilary White
  BRUSSELS, June 17, 2008 ( – The media reported widely this weekend that European Union leadership is already planning ways to ignore the referendum vote in Ireland that rejected the re-worked European Constitution, now called the Lisbon Treaty.
  Despite the fact that under the EU’s own rules the Lisbon Treaty must be ratified unanimously or die, one EU official said plans were being made for a “bridging mechanism” that would simply remove Ireland from the list of required signatories and Ireland alone would not be obliged to abide by the Treaty.
  By 2010, an “Accession Treaty” is expected to be ratified by all member states including Ireland. Because Ireland, like the rest of the Europe, does not hold referendums on EU enlargement treaties, the tactic may allow the Accession Treaty to go through the Irish parliament without a popular vote.
  Gordon Brown, Britain’s Prime Minister has already telephoned colleagues in Brussels assuring them that Britain’s government will ignore the Irish vote and continue with the ratification process in Parliament. This, despite a report from the Times that a source close to the Prime Minister said, “The legal position on this is very clear: the treaty cannot come into force until all 27 countries have ratified it.” Brown is facing widespread collapse of public support, due, in part, to his refusal to allow a referendum in Britain.
  Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the French Europe Minister, said, “The most important thing is that the ratification process must continue in the other countries and then we shall see with the Irish what type of legal arrangement could be found.”
“We must remain within the framework of the Lisbon treaty.”
  France’s President, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is next to take over the presidency of the European Union, is reportedly working with EU officials and diplomats to create a route around the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty.
  Neil O’Brien, Director of Open Europe, said, “The argument for a referendum in Britain is now overwhelming. Europe’s political establishment plan to carry on regardless. Only a referendum in Britain can finally kill this thing off.”
  The Irish vote rejecting the Treaty came amidst accusations that the allegedly innocent “re-working” and “streamlining” of the electoral system of the European Union would result in individual member states being reduced to the status of client regions in an overarching, unaccountable and undemocratic superstate. Irish citizenship as well as constitutional law, many critics said, would be superseded by formal citizenship in the EU. This new form of citizenship would be qualitatively different from the current “nominal” or informal EU membership. One Irish “No” campaign flyer ran the caption, “People died for your freedom; don’t throw it away. Vote No.”
  Pro-life advocates in Ireland warned that the new political configuration envisaged by the Lisbon Treaty would mean that Irish constitutional protections for the unborn would be negated.
  The Irish political establishment was said to be “stunned” by the strong reaction of the Irish voters and had little concrete idea why the Treaty had been rejected, despite all major political parties supporting a “yes” vote. Despite the reasons for the rejection remaining officially unclear, however, Brussels is planning to incorporate into their next attempt a series of “opt-outs” on issues they claim were the reasons for the Irish rejection of Lisbon.
  Since the 2005 referenda in France and the Netherlands that quashed the previous version of the Treaty, many have predicted that any further rejections by national plebiscites would result only in repeated attempts by Brussels to force a treaty until all opposition to the advance of the EU’s anti-democratic agenda is ground down.
  An unnamed official was quoted this weekend in the Daily Telegraph admitting that there was little difficulty with opposition, even after the Constitutional treaty was rejected: “It is probably no more difficult than the legal footwork necessary to turn the Constitutional Treaty into [the] Lisbon [Treaty] after the French and Dutch rejected it. The issue will be timing.”
  Ireland was the only country in the EU that was required by law to put such measures to a plebiscite. All other attempts to force the political elites to hold open referenda failed. In Britain, it was openly said that Gordon Brown’s refusal, despite a growing demand by Opposition and even government MPs and a huge public outcry, was the fear that the British public would also reject the Treaty had they been given a voice.
  The debacle in Parliament that saw all members of the Liberal Democrats at the last moment oppose a motion for a referendum to tip the vote, was widely denounced as a “scandal” and has contributed significantly to Brown’s loss of prestige and popularity. All three main parties at the last general election had promised a referendum on any forthcoming European constitutional agreements.

See related coverage:
  Ireland Rejects EU Treaty by Wide Margin
  Poland Ratifies Lisbon Treaty with Opt-Out from EU Human Rights Charter
  UK to Hand Sovereignty to EU without Referendum
  Furious Britons Give Brown and Labour Worst Electoral Pummelling in Forty Years