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Lisbon Treaty: What they said

The EU's controversial Lisbon Treaty has had a fraught genesis, involving a decade of negotiations. The second Irish referendum on it, on 2 October, will be a major milestone.

Lisbon emerged from the debacle of the European Constitution, which was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005. Some argue that the treaty is simply the constitution repackaged, while others say the differences are fundamental.

Here is a selection of quotes about the treaty, from political leaders past and present.

Irish PM Brian Cowen (2009)

Only with a "Yes" will we ensure investor confidence in Ireland, protect our influence in vital economic decisions and reform Europe so that it is more dynamic and effective.

Anti-Lisbon lobbyist and businessman Declan Ganley (2009)

The only job that the Lisbon Treaty will save is Brian Cowen's.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2007)

The substance of the constitution is preserved. That is a fact.

Former French President Valery Giscard D'Estaing (2007)

Public opinion will be led - without knowing it - to adopt the policies we would never dare present to them directly. All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden or disguised in some way.

Mr D'Estaing chaired the convention that drafted the EU Constitution.

Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (2007)

A great part of the content of the European Constitution is captured in the new treaties.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso (2008)

We have the dimension of empires, but there is a great difference. The empires were usually made through force, with a centre that was imposing a diktat, a will on the others, and now we have what some authors call the first non-imperial empire.

UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband (2008)

Britain will continue to decide on its own foreign policy and where we agree with others there can be a common European role in helping to deliver it....

[The treaty will] allow us to move on to the agenda of prosperity and development and climate change.

UK PM Gordon Brown (2008)

If this was a constitutional treaty, we would hold a referendum. If there was a vote on a euro, we would hold a referendum. But the constitutional concept was abandoned.

UK shadow foreign secretary William Hague (2008)

In a Europe which needs greater flexibility it [Lisbon] moves more power to the centre, and in a Europe where nations need the freedom to compete it will narrow down those freedoms. In a Europe committed to democracy it will take more decision-making away from democratic control.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (2008)

No Lisbon Treaty, no enlargement... I would find it very strange for a Europe of 27 that has trouble agreeing on workable institutions to agree on adding a 28th, a 29th, a 30th, a 31st, which would definitely make things worse.



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