01/10/2008

Mini EC 'Summit' For Cowen

Speculation over a Lisbon Treaty vote re-run in Ireland is likely to intensify this week with news that Taoiseach Brian Cowen and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are meeting in Paris today.

Although billed as a discussion on the global financial crisis which this week has prompted Mr Cowen's government to underwrite much of the Irish Republic's banking system, the 'fallout' from the Lisbon treaty rejection by Irish voters is unlikely to be overlooked at the meeting.

For many commentators, a Lisbon Treaty vote re-run in Ireland is widely seen as the most likely way through the European impasse.

Mr Cowen is being accompanied by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin while Mr Martin's French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, is also attending the meeting.

The meeting follows on from Mr Sarkozy's visit to Dublin in July when the two leaders agreed to meet again in advance of this month's European Council meeting.

Mr Sarkozy will host a meeting of senior EU officials on Saturday to work out a response to the financial crisis which has spread from the United States to the European banking system, officials said.

Luxembourg Prime Minister and Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker commented: "We have a preparatory meeting for the broader G8 meeting on Saturday afternoon in Paris," also noting that EU leaders will hold a summit in Brussels on October 15th where they are expected to discuss improving regulations in the light of the crisis.

However, the influential President of Luxembourg has already said he would not advise Ireland to re-run the Lisbon treaty until 2010, so any move on that particular empasse may be some time off.

See: Treaty Coverage Gave 'No' Side "More Credibility"

(BMcC)

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