Stanley's blog

We appear to be in for a roller-coaster ride under the French – or rather Sarkozy – Presidency, which begins in a few days. Most worrying is his declared intention to travel to Ireland presidency to help find a solution. His reactions so far are not conducive to his playing a constructive role.

At a press conference in Brussels, Mr Sarkozy said that the European Commission’s trade policies had alarmed Irish farmers and contributed to the No vote. He said: “A child dies of starvation every 30 seconds and the Commission wanted to reduce European agriculture production by 21 per cent during World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks. This was really counter-productive.”

He listed issues which contributed to the No vote including Irish concerns over euthanasia, abortion and the world trade talks – adding: “Mandelson.”

As well as blaming Mr Mandelson, Mr Sarkozy warned Ireland that it is jeopardising EU hopes of enlarging to admit Croatia and, eventually, Turkey. “Without the Treaty of Lisbon there won’t be any enlargement,” the president said. “You can’t say no to reforms and yes to enlargement.”
EU leaders have said they will respect the Irish vote.

But Mr Sarkozy put clear pressure on Ireland to hold a second referendum.

According to the French satirical newspaper, Le Canard Enchaîné, Sarkozy, was furious with the Irish following the No vote. “They are bloody fools,” he told aides. “They have been stuffing their faces at Europe’s expense for years and now they dump us in the s***.”

Coming from the president of a country which has greatly benefited financially from the EU and who rejected the Constitutional Treaty in a voluntary referendum, this is a bit much. Sarkozy forgets the aged-old adage: “Eaten bread is soon forgotten.”

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