Friday, 6 March 2009

Lisbon Treaty ratification (Ireland)

This blog is not the only one to wonder at the lack of information about preparatory work concerning the ratification and implementation of the European Union’s Treaty of Lisbon.

On 25 February 2009 the EU Committee of the Finnish Government discussed a memorandum on the state of play since the December 2008 European Council (Lissabonin sopimus ─ Eteneminen joulukuun 2008 Eurooppa-neuvoston j√§lkeen ─ Tilannekatsaus). The memo is available only in Finnish, but available to the public here:



The Irish ratification issues are mainly descriptive, with few dramatic positions.

The 7 page paper, which primarily serves the purpose to keep the Parliament informed, starts by stating the well known facts about the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. It has been approved by 25 national parliaments and EU 23 member states have deposited their ratification instruments. The four missing depositions are those of Ireland, as well as Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic.

The memo presents the commitments of the Irish Government to arrange a second referendum during 2009 and of the member states to offer Ireland assurances with regard to Irish demands.


Irish demands

The Prime Minister’s EU Secretariat sees legally binding assurances (a protocol) as a problem, because only a solution which excludes a new round of ratifications can garner unanimous support. However, certain matters can be formalised later at treaty level after the Lisbon Treaty has entered into force, for instance as part of an accession treaty. The memorandum refers to the political agreements concluded among the member states in 1992 with regard to the Maastricht or EU Treaty and Denmark, included in the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty.

Other important issues evoked by Ireland (cf. Annex to European Council conclusions) might be included in a declaration.

If a satisfactory conclusion can be reached during the first half of this year, the Irish Government has undertaken to arrange a new referendum by the end of October 2009.


In a separate post we are going to look at the (lack of preparation of) Lisbon Treaty implementation issues.

Ralf Grahn