Germany says no pressure must be put on Ireland over Lisbon Treaty
Germany refuses to pressure Ireland over the Lisbon treaty
Berlin -- The German government is firmly against applying pressure on Ireland over the ratification of the European Union's reform treaty following the Irish "no" vote in a referendum last week, government officials said on Wednesday.
Speaking ahead of an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, the German officials said Ireland had to be given time to analyse and assess the situation.
"We are not going to point a pistol at them," a high-ranking source said. "We must give the Irish government time to consult."
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen is expected to provide an initial analysis of the situation when EU heads of state and government meet over supper in Brussels on Thursday.
The German government sources would not be drawn on deadlines for the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, hammered out last year in an attempt to replace the failed constitution.
"It depends on the Irish ... The Irish must tell us what they would rather have - Nice or something else," they said in reference to the 2001 Treaty of Nice, agreed before the large scale expansion of the EU into formerly communist Eastern Europe.
EU leaders regard the arrangements under the Treaty of Nice as too cumbersome for an EU grown to 27 members.
The sources would not be drawn on the ratification process in other EU countries where potential problems loom, such as the Czech Republic and Poland.
Ratification is being held up in Germany by a legal challenge laid before the Constitutional Court.
Ratification by Britain - the upper house of the British parliament is expected to pass the required legislation late on Wednesday - would give the process across Europe a boost, they said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is to address the German parliament on the issue early on Thursday before leaving for Brussels.