Ireland is beginning to ponder calling another EU referendum following proposals by France and Germany to change the Lisbon Treaty in order to introduce a permanent system to handle crises in the euro zone.
The initial response in Irish diplomatic circles is described as "sanguine" by the Irish Times.
"We look forward to hearing more concretely from France and Germany what their proposals are," an Irish official is quoted as saying.
In private, however, the newspaper's sources admitted that there was no appetite in Dublin for anything that could bring the government anywhere near referendum territory.
In a joint statement issued on 18 October, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel say the EU treaties need to be modified in order to sanction countries that break budget discipline rules, including a temporary suspension of their EU voting rights.
Sarkozy and Merkel invited EU leaders to ask the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, to present "concrete options allowing the establishment of a robust crisis resolution framework before […] March 2011".
The statement adds that "the necessary amendment to the Treaties should be adopted and ratified by member states in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements in due time before 2013".
Lawyers may well argue over whether the Crotty judgment (see 'Background') requires a referral to the people in this instance, but it cannot be argued that any of the mooted changes are insignificant, writes the Irish Times' Brussels correspondent, Arthur Beesley, in an opinion piece.
Britain to follow?
The proposed treaty changes also fuelled discussions on holding a referendum in the UK.
Merkel and Sarkozy's demand for treaty change will put the government of Prime Minister David Cameron under intense pressure to hold a vote on the EU. Indeed, many Tories were angry at Labour's refusal to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, The Telegraph writes.
This is the second time since the Lisbon Treaty's entry into force that EU politicians have considered additional treaty changes. The first was to accommodate 18 'phantom MEPs', which required the organisation of a brief Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).
The issue, seen as of limited importance, did not require a referendum to be held in Ireland.