EU can not expand because of crisis - President of the European Parliament
The President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, expressed regret at the 'no' vote in the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and called on the European Heads of State and Government, meeting next week in Brussels, to discuss solutions in this situation, according to Deutschlandradio Kultur.
Hans-Gert Pöttering said the following:
'It is of course a great disappointment for all those who wanted to achieve greater democracy, greater political effectiveness and greater clarity and transparency in decision-making in the European Union that the majority of the Irish could not be convinced of the need for these reforms of the European Union. We must not forget, however, that the European Union has experienced crises and times of difficulty several times before. Today, as in the past, we must keep a cool head.
The rejection of the Treaty text by one European Union country cannot mean that the ratifications which have already been carried out by 18 EU countries become invalid. The ratifications in the other EU Member States must be respected just as much as the Irish vote. For that reason, the ratification process must continue in those Member States which have not yet ratified.
For its part, the Irish Government together with its European partners will now be required to make proposals as to how to proceed from here. The Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held next week in Brussels will have to address the situation after the Irish referendum and will offer the Irish Government an opportunity to take stock and put forward proposals.
We must now calmly reflect on how to proceed. The reform of the European Union is important for citizens, for democracy and transparency. Therefore I hope that it will be possible to find a solution so that reforms can come into force by the time of the European elections in June 2009.'