EU Says Stupid Irish Will Have to Listen

A quote from The Sunday Times [of London], 19 October 2008

Minutes of the [European Union meeting in Paris on October 9], and of a separate dinner with the French minister for European affairs, record how key French politicians and other [Members of the European Parliament] said that Ireland should be put in an “untenable position” […].

The meeting and dinner heard how Ireland’s “intellectual mediocrity and lack of political courage” led to the rejection of the Lisbon treaty and included discussions of how to “cuddle and pamper” the Irish voter ahead of a new vote while at the same time “making pressures on them”. […] The minutes from the Sunday Times source show French politicians want Ireland to believe the EU will respect the country’s sovereignty and demands, while telling the Irish people how the other 495m Europeans are watching them and “will be really angry” if the answer is no again.

A quote from the Irish Election blog, 19 October 2008

I travelled to Brussels this week with a group of Irish journalists on a media trip to the EU which co-incided with the [EU] Summit. […] [Ireland’s No to Lisbon] is Ireland’s problem. Ireland, they [the EU people we spoke to] said, signed off on this as a government and failed to deliver. […] The views ranged from disappointment that the Irish government ran such a pathetic campaign, to near contempt for the Irish government’s incompetence, to one outright claim that [the Irish Prime Minister] Brian Cowen should have resigned after failing to convince the Irish people on the deal which he was instrumental in brokering. […]

Overall the message was that in December Brian Cowen doesn’t just need a set of proposals and ideas - he needs a solid plan that he is ready to roll on. But what if? Well, some refused to be drawn on it, saying they trust the Irish government will speak very forthrightly to the Irish people and that in consequence of such frank outlining of Ireland’s position that the Irish people would make the right choice. But still what if? What then of Lisbon? we begged. “What then of Ireland” was the response.

It seemed pretty clear - there will be […] no reopening of the substantive institutional agreements. The reforms have taken too long and people are simply exhausted. It’s got to be signed off ASAP. That was the message. Europe needs this out of the way.