Sarkozy to visit Ireland over referendum

Mr Sarkozy plans to visit Ireland this month
Mr Sarkozy plans to visit Ireland this month

Nicolas Sarkozy, French president, says he plans to travel to Ireland later in the month to find "solutions" to the country's rejection of the Lisbon treaty.

France has taken over the rotating EU presidency and Mr Sarkozy, addressing the European parliament, pledged to seek progress after Irish voters turned down the treaty's institutional reforms.

"The problem is this. We need not to offend our Irish colleagues," he told MEPs.

"But at the same time we need to know how and under what treaty we are going to be organising the European elections in 2009."

Mr Sarkozy prefaced his remarks with comments about the way he avoided having to hold a referendum in France.

"Before the [French presidential] election I said I would not hold a referendum. I said so in a democratic spirit to the people of France.

"The rules of the operation of Europe are for members of parliament, not for referendums. It's a political choice, I stand up for it."


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