The European Union’s Swedish presidency has declared that the Irish ‘Yes’ vote on the Lisbon Treaty was “a good day for Europe”.
Online newspaper The Local reports that Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish Prime Minister made the positive announcement after 65 percent of Irish voters favoured the treaty on initial results. “It has been a long journey. Now the presidency will be active to reach all the way,” claimed Reinfeldt.
The Irish had previously rejected the treaty due to concerns over tax and abortion laws along with Ireland’s military neutrality. However, a raft of assurances that its standings on these issues would not be affected finally persuaded Ireland to join the Yes vote.
“Europe has listened to – and acted on – the concerns of the Irish people. This is European cooperation at its best. It’s a good thing for Ireland and a good thing for the European Union,” Reinfeldt stated.
The Lisbon treaty is aimed at completing the processes begun under the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 and the Treaty of Nice from 2001 which promotes coherence of action by a unified and efficient EU. Among notable changes the Lisbon Treaty features the creation of the President of the European Council, qualified voting in elections of the Council of Ministers and the creation of a High Representative for Foreign Affairs. The Lisbon treaty would also make the Charter of Fundamental Rights- the UN human rights charter- a legally binding document.
“It is now important to get the treaty in place. The European Council is united in its wish to see the Treaty enter into force before the end of the year,” Reinfeldt stated.
At present, Poland and the Czech Republic are the only member nations still to sign the treaty which hopes to streamline the workings of the council. The council has seen its numbers grown from 15 to 27 in the past five years. Reinfeldt was confident that Poland would sign the agreement in the near future while adding that meetings are scheduled this week with Jan Fischer, the Czech Prime Minister.