16 Jun 2008

Plan B

Daniel Gros

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CEPS Director Daniel Gros argues in this Commentary that the solution to the ‘Irish crisis’ could be simple if the other countries are really determined to go ahead. At the forthcoming European Council meeting in Brussels, he suggests that member countries could simply sign the consolidated text of the Treaties which results from the incorporation of the amendments of the Lisbon Treaty into the old Treaty. While the Irish government could not put its signature to such a Treaty at this time, it could be invited by the European Council to submit a set of protocols, or opt-outs, which would allow it to sign the treaty and have a reasonable certainty that the next referendum would have a different outcome. In the meantime, the consolidated text would thus be signed by 26 member states (perhaps 25 if the Czech government judges that ratification is difficult). This consolidated text, representing a new coherent treaty, could enter into force once it is ratified by all the 26 countries that have signed it now. Ratification of the consolidated text should be possible to achieve within a short period of time as no further referenda would be necessary and all 26 members (25?) are committed to ratifying the Lisbon Treaty using parliamentary procedures (with 18 having already done so).