PARIS (Reuters) - A possible Irish rejection of the European Union’s Lisbon treaty should not stop other member states ratifying it, a French minister said on Friday.
Ireland voted on Thursday in a referendum on whether to approve the treaty and results are expected later on Friday.
“The most important thing is that ratification should continue in other countries (if Ireland has voted “no”) and I have good reasons to think that the process of ratification will continue,” France’s Secretary of State for European Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet told LCI television.
“We would have to see with the Irish at the end of the ratification process how we could make it work and what legal arrangement we could come to.”
His view of was at odds with comments by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who said on Thursday:
“If the Irish people decide to reject the treaty of Lisbon, naturally, there will be no treaty of Lisbon.”
The approval of all 27 EU member states is required to ratify the treaty, which was hammered out last year after a previous charter was rejected by French and Dutch voters. This time, France plans no referendum on the text.
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon, edited by Richard Meares