Voters in Ireland have rejected the Lisbon Treaty

Dublin, Jun. 13, 2008 (vaticans.org) - Voters in Ireland have rejected the Lisbon Treaty, casting into doubt the drive for approval of a new and stronger constitution for the European Union.

Despite endorsement by all the country's major political parties, the Lisbon Treaty received the endorsement of only 46.6% of the Irish voters participating in a June 12 referendum; 53.4% of the votes were cast against the treaty.

The Lisbon Treaty offered an amended version of the proposed European Union constitution that had been turned down by voters in France and the Netherlands in 2005. Among the 27 member-states of the European Union, only Ireland required a popular vote to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. In every other country, a parliamentary vote was sufficient for ratification, and 18 countries had already taken that step.

However, the terms of the Lisbon Treaty required unanimous ratification by all of the European Union nations. Prior to the vote in Ireland, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon had observed: "If the Irish people decide to reject the treaty of Lisbon, naturally, there will be no treaty of Lisbon."

The Catholic bishops of Ireland had not taken a formal position on the Lisbon Treaty, but were generally regarded as strong favorable to the agreement. Pro-life and pro-family groups, on the other hand, were deeply suspicious of the treaty because it would have enhanced the power of the European Union, and added to pressure for Irish compliance with European policies that favored abortion and same-sex marriage.

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