Berlusconi moots ‘core Europe’ plan if Ireland votes No

ITALIAN Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has suggested a “core Europe” of like-minded EU member states could be formed if Ireland rejects the Lisbon Treaty for a second time.

Yes campaigners, including European Affairs Minister Dick Roche, have already warned that a “two-tier” EU could develop if Ireland says No again.

If the treaty is defeated, Mr Berlusconi believes member states in favour of Lisbon should simply unite and move on – the implication being that Ireland would be left behind.

“If the Lisbon Treaty on EU reform does not pass, we need to completely revisit the current functioning of Europe to create a core of states that operate beyond unanimity,” he said.

Former European Parliament president Pat Cox, who is leading the “Ireland for Europe” campaign, said a No vote would lead to “political isolation” for this country.

“A Yes vote is sending a clear message that Ireland is open for business and that we want to be a key player in Europe. Being at the heart of Europe is the only platform we have for recovery,” Mr Cox said.

“A No vote would collapse consumer confidence, scare off potential investors and lead to political isolation for Ireland.”

Meanwhile, the Department of the Environment has released details of arrangements for polling day on Friday, October 2. Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm. Every person who is an Irish citizen and is included in the register of electors is entitled to vote and the count will begin at 9am on October 3, with the result to be announced by the referendum returning officer.


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