The British government failed to keep its promise to its citizens to have a referendum to either approve or disapprove the Lisbon Treaty—which in reality is just a papering over of the already rejected European Constitution, since the actual contents are about 98 percent the same. But to give the Irish citizens their due, the Republic of Ireland conducted a public referendum on the Lisbon Treaty as required by its constitution—and they rejected it.
All 27 member states have to ratify the treaty. Only the Irish Republic has democratically held a referendum of its citizens. This Irish rejection is in spite of strong verbal pressure brought by Brussels and Irish politicians on the electorate.
One commentator had stated that "the prospect of a no vote in the Irish referendum next month on the European Union's Lisbon Treaty is something too dreadful to contemplate in Brussels and most other capitals of the EU member states"
(Financial Times, May 30, 2008). Yet leading up to the vote, Irish newspapers were full of protests by a few courageous politicians and journalists pointing out the flaws in the treaty.
The Irish citizenry took the matter much more seriously than most Europeans. In fact, most European citizens know little about the terms of the Lisbon Treaty and what it portends for the future. An article by Jamie Smyth, European correspondent for The Irish Times, bore this title: "Citizens of Europe United in Ignorance of the Treaty" (June 6, 2008).
As he noted later in the text, "The gap between Europe's citizens and what they know about the Lisbon Treaty is a big one." This ignorance enables the European Union to slowly take national sovereignty by stealth.
Yet citizens in the Irish Republic have stood in the gap. One observer stated, "The people of Ireland have shown enormous courage and wisdom in analyzing the facts presented to them and making the decision they have" (BBC News).
Some opposed the treaty because it could threaten Ireland's traditional military neutrality. "This treaty will increase militarization and neoconservatism of Europe," said Treasa O'Brien, who voted in Cork. "I'm pro-European, but the EU started as an economic system. The treaty will turn the EU into a super-state, and that was not its original intention" (The Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2008).
As explained in our free booklet The Book of Revelation Unveiled, Europe is destined to become exactly that—the heart of a new economic and military superstate.
What happens next remains to be seen, since the treaty requires approval by all 27 EU nations to take effect. Presumably the treaty will be slightly reworked and put to another vote. Indeed, the treaty is already a largely cosmetic revision of the EU constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005. Some are calling for a "two-speed Europe," wherein ratifying countries can start implementing the treaty. Of course, that violates the requirement of unanimity. In any case, despite the temporary setback, be sure that Europe's leaders will find a way to continue the process of political union. (Sources: Financial Times, The Irish Times, The Los Angeles Times, BBC News.)