Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty in the June 12 referendum came like a bolt out of a clear blue sky because of its reputation as one of the countries which has done best out of European Union (EU) membership. The EU continues to enjoy a high level of support. In a Eurobarometer survey late last year, 87 percent of Irish people thought the country had beneﬁted from membership, the highest such score in the EU.
The Irish vote, along with the rejection of the EU Constitution by France and the Netherlands three years ago, should be seen as a red ﬂag to alert the Union’s leadership that its current mode of integration is going over the heads of even those who wish it well. Although the Lisbon Treaty was ghoulishly misrepresented by the ‘No’ campaign in Ireland, a 271-page document of legalese is not the way to people’s hearts.