Hague: EU has ignored Ireland

The European Union (EU) has ignored Ireland’s ‘no’ vote on the Lisbon treaty and is pushing on regardless, foreign secretary William Hague has said.

The comments come as reports suggest the Irish government is prepared to hold a second referendum on the treaty, having secured itself exceptions for certain policy areas, such as abortion.

“Gordon Brown goes to this summit without any democratic mandate on the Lisbon treaty,” Mr Hague said.

“If our unelected prime minister insists on forcing the Irish people to vote twice, the case for letting the British people vote once will be morally answerable.”

The EU faced severe criticism from Eurosceptics for pushing ahead with the treaty after the Irish ‘no’ vote, especially after French and Dutch voters rejected previous attempts to establish an EU constitution.

“Trying to force the Lisbon Treaty down the Irish people’s throats again is not only a dangerous distraction from that agenda, it is profoundly undemocratic,” Mr Hague continued.

“It is no wonder that the EU is seen as increasingly unaccountable and out of touch if it won’t listen to what people are actually saying.

“EU leaders should use this summit to focus on what really matters to the peoples of Europe: the economy, climate change and energy.”

The Irish government appeared close to admitting it would hold a second referendum on the treaty this afternoon. Its delegates to the summit are currently in negotiations.

The Lisbon Treaty looks to enhance the efficiency and democratic legitimacy of the EU, not least of all by creating an EU president. It was rejected by the Irish by 53.4 per cent to 46.6 per cent in June.