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Brussels, 13 June 2008
All indications are that Ireland has voted no to the Treaty of Lisbon. As a supporter of the Treaty, the European Commission would have hoped for another result. However, we respect the outcome of the referendum.
I have just spoken to Prime Minister Cowen, and he was clear that this vote should not be seen as a vote against the EU. Indeed, both sides in the campaign stressed the benefits of Irish membership: I believe that Ireland remains committed to building a strong Europe and playing a full and active part in the EU.
The Irish government and the governments of the other Member States will now need to assess what this result means for the process. The Treaty was signed by all 27 Member States, so there is a joint responsibility to address the situation. The European Council meets next week – and that is the place where joint decisions should be taken on issues that concern us all. The "no" vote in Ireland has not solved the problems which the Lisbon Treaty is designed to solve. The ratification process is made up of 27 national processes, 18 Member States have already approved the Treaty, and the European Commission believes that the remaining ratifications should continue to take their course.
At the European Council, we will want to confer with each other, to hear Prime Minister Cowen's analysis, as well as his ideas on how to address the concerns expressed by those who chose to vote no.
At the same time, the EU institutions and the Member States should continue the work of delivering for the citizens of Europe on issues like growth and jobs, social cohesion, energy security, climate change and fighting inflation. Working together in the EU remains the best way to deal with the challenges affecting Europeans today.