Sunday, July 6, 2008

Nicolas Sarkozy turns screw on Irish over EU treaty

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, will use a Paris summit next weekend to increase pressure on Ireland’s prime minister to find a way out of the impasse created by his country’s rejection of the Lisbon treaty, aimed at re-organising the European Union.

Brian Cowen, the Irish leader, may want to keep a low profile at a weekend of French festivities starting on July 13 when he will again face the ire of EU leaders over Ireland’s no vote on the treaty.

France assumed the presidency of the EU for six months last Tuesday and Sarkozy is to travel to Dublin on July 21 to ram home the point in talks with the taoiseach.

The French strategy appears to be aimed at isolating Ireland, the only country so far to have rejected the treaty, a scaled-down version of the EU constitution rejected by France and Holland in 2005. It calls for an EU president and foreign minister and more decisions by majority votes.

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