EU leader welcomes Ireland's Lisbon vote
ABC News (Link) - BBC (October 4, 2009)
Political leaders across the European Union have welcomed the strong Irish referendum vote in favour of the Lisbon Treaty, which is designed to strengthen the 27-nation bloc.
Irish voters overturned their "No" vote of a year ago, and the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said it was a great day for Europe.
"The Irish have understood how important and how useful the European Union response to the economic crisis [was]," he said.
"Secondly, this time there was a real campaign not only with the government - but with different political forces, with the civil society and that's why there was a bigger participation - bigger turnout."
Mr Barroso urged the leaders of Poland and the Czech Republic to sign the treaty as soon as possible.
It must be ratified by all members before it takes effect.
The people of Ireland voted by 67 per cent to ratify the Treaty which gives the European Union more streamlined powers. Eighteen months ago, they had voted no.
The Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has called the yes vote a good day for Ireland and a good day for Europe.
But the leading no campaigner and Libertas Party leader Declan Ganley says people have voted to accept the treaty for the wrong reasons.
"It's not a vote inspired out of hope or any great affection for where the European project is heading," he said.
"It's a vote inspired by fear, fear of job losses, fear of economic ruin which is what the yes side were promising and of course a fire hosing of resources and funds to the yes side in this campaign."
The political focus now switches to the only two countries yet to ratify the treaty - Poland and the Czech Republic.
The scale of Ireland's Yes vote will put pressure on them to act quickly.
However, some resistance is expected, particularly in the Czech Republic.
The Lisbon Treaty may be back on track, but the debate isn't quite over yet.