Jouyet: ‘We must find a timetable for Ireland by December’

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Halfway through his country’s EU presidency, French State Secretary for EU Affairs Jean-Pierre Jouyet revealed to EURACTIV France his desire to see the Treaty of Lisbon ratified by Ireland as soon as possible. He also underlined the urgency of reaching a European agreement on climate change given the upcoming international negotiations in 2009.

Ireland has just announced its intention to delay proposals to help Europe out of its institutional crisis until December. Do you think that it is possible for the Lisbon Treaty to come into force before the European elections in 2009?

It was never the plan to deal with the Irish case at the European Council in October. We must find a political solution, and if possible an agenda, at the European Council of December. 

The French Presidency will try to ensure that the Lisbon Treaty comes into force quickly, if possible before the European elections. Twenty-four member states have already ratified the Lisbon Treaty. Sweden has to do it next, just as the Czech Republic will have to able to ratify the new treaty by the end of the year. We will try to find a timetable as soon as possible with our Irish partners.

Do you have the feeling that certain countries – namely Germany and France – are looking to water down the goals of the EU’s energy and climate change package given the financial crisis? 

Between France and Germany, one side appears to be trying to hit the brakes more than the other. 

The most important priority for the French EU Presidency is to preserve the 3×20% objectives and principles. We must maintain some level of European coherence given the extreme importance of the international meeting in Copenhagen in 2009. Europe has to remain a model to follow on global warming. 

Nevertheless, certain economic and industrial sectors need flexibility. On account of the current crisis, it is for example necessary to take into account the special situation of the central and eastern European economies, which face more fragile energy situations than other countries. 

To read the full transcript of the interview on the EURACTIV France website, please click here

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