Ireland votes 'Yes' to Lisbon Treaty

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Status of the Lisbon Treaty in EU nations:

██ Deposited: 23 countries

██ In ratification process: Poland, Czech Republic, and Ireland

On Saturday, 67% of Irish voters favored the European Union's (EU) Lisbon Treaty which now requires approval from the presidents of the Czech Republic and Poland for ratification.

With polls closed at 10 PM local, the vote in favor of the EU treaty stands at 67% in favor and 33% against. 41 of Ireland's 43 constituencies had a majority of voters in favor of the treaty. The treaty was mainly supported by the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour parties amongst others and was opposed mainly by the Sinn Féin Party and Libertas. The Irish rejected the Lisbon Treaty in June 2008 when 53% of the population voted against the Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland that covered the ratification in a referendum. Since 2007 the Lisbon treaty has undergone a series of ratification votes and reviews in all of the current 27 member-states. Ireland was the only state to require both a parliamentary vote and a popular referendum.

The Lisbon Treaty is a number of amendments to the Treaty on the European Union and the Treaty Establishing the European Community, which was later renamed the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Some of the major tenets of the Lisbon Treaty include the legitimization of the European Central Bank, revisions to European Court of Justice powers, a restructing of EU-level legislative institutions, and the establishment of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Also, the treaty allows for the election of an EU President for two and one-half years by the executives of each member-nation.

With the treaty now passed in Ireland, the Czech Republic and Poland will make a final review. In the Czech Republic, the parliament has already passed a bill supporting the treaty however, the signature of Czech President Vaclav Klaus is required. Senators from the Czech Parliament have filed a complaint with the Czech Constitutional Court on the grounds that the treaty violates their constitution. Legally, the president cannot ratify the treaty until the Court makes a decision. Poland must also sign-off on the treaty before it can be enacted. The Polish parliament also has approved the treaty but Polish President, Lech Kaczynski, must also sign the document. Thus, while Ireland's referendum is important in the ratification process, the Czech Republic and Poland must still approve.