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Friday 20 September 2019

'No' vote 'could split Europe'

Former Polish president condemns 'lies' of anti-treaty campaign

ine Kerr Political Correspondent

REJECTION of the Lisbon Treaty could prompt calls for the EU to move off in two separate directions, former Polish president Lech Walesa said yesterday.

If Ireland votes 'No' again, Mr Walesa said he would recommend that countries in favour of the Lisbon Treaty join forces.

"I will propose that if the countries who understand there is a need for a stronger control of Europe would lead towards this direction, towards the direction I suggested before, and let the other countries establish their own union," he said through a translator. "The European Union needs some kind of a controlling system."

His comments came as a Millward Brown Lansdowne survey last night revealed that 67pc of voters are now in favour of the treaty when undecided voters are taken out.

When undecided voters are taken account of, the poll showed that 53pc will vote 'Yes', 26pc will vote 'No' and 21pc of voters remain undecided.

The former president and Solidarity leader, who was in Dublin to campaign for a 'Yes' vote at the invitation of Fine Gael, said "hidden forces" feel threatened by a united and well-organised Europe. And he insisted the Lisbon Treaty did not negatively impact on workers' rights, contrary to claims by some 'No' campaigners.

Ridiculous

Some of the arguments of anti-Lisbon Treaty campaigners are bordering on the "ridiculous", he said. "It is certainly a lie that this treaty works to the disadvantage of the labour force on any single issue," he said.

"And actually, all the 'No' arguments that I have been hearing here in Ireland, they border on the ridiculous, and they border on lies."

Asked about speculation that he had obtained €100,000 to speak at a conference organised by Libertas earlier this year, Mr Walesa said such a figure was "absurd".

While supportive of Libertas's general views about the need to reorganise European structures and put citizens at its heart, Mr Walesa said he disagreed with them on their Lisbon Treaty stance.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny described Mr Walesa as "a powerful symbol, an iconic figure and the father of democracy in Eastern Europe". He too claimed some of the 'No' side's arguments, such as the argument about the minimum wage falling to €1.84, were "bare-faced lies".

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