"There is firm resolve to proceed, to seek a way out of this situation within the framework as set by the Lisbon Reform Treaty," said the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia and current President of the European Union, Mr Janez Janša, in response to the publication of the official outcome of the referendum on ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, held yesterday in Ireland. The Prime Minister went on to add that the Heads of State and Government of the European Union Member States would hold a meeting next week in Brussels, and the Irish Prime Minister, Mr Brian Cowen, would be invited to explain the reasons for this outcome of the referendum.
The Prime Minister said today in Ljubljana that the news from Ireland was not good, since the majority of Irish voters had rejected the Lisbon Reform Treaty at the referendum. He expressed regret and disappointment at this decision, adding that the democratic will of the Irish voters must, nevertheless, be respected. "In the past hours, I have spoken with my Irish colleague, with my colleagues from a number of other Member States, and also with the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Parliament. I have also spoken with some colleagues in the Member States in which the Lisbon Treaty has not yet been ratified. They are, all of them, determined to continue with this process," was the optimistic statement of the Prime Minister, who stressed the resolve of European leaders to find a solution to this situation. According to the Prime Minister, the Lisbon Reform Treaty has already been ratified by two thirds of the EU Member States, representing a vast majority of EU residents.
In the Prime Minister's opinion, the Lisbon Treaty is necessary since it brings greater effectiveness, greater democracy and greater transparency. It is also necessary for continuing the process of deepening the European Union and for the EU's further enlargement. "The Lisbon Treaty, and the solutions it provides, is indispensable in order for the European Union to effectively tackle, in the years to come, the key global challenges, which are also the key challenges for the citizens of the European Union," maintained the Slovenian Prime Minister, adding that by voting against the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, we had not resolved the issues covered by the Treaty.
He said that the situation within the European Union was changing. That is why a new and updated reform institutional framework for the European Union is necessary. EU enlargement has brought about a new quantity and quality of the EU. The changing situation in the world also calls for a constant adaptation of solutions. The Slovenian Prime Minister and President of the European Council, Janez Janša, said he was convinced that frank and fair discussions at the European Council meeting next week would bring about an agreement on how, and in which direction, to plan the search for solutions.
The European Council President stressed that in the last few weeks, Slovenia had put a great deal of effort into formulating effective and good European Council conclusions that would respond to the current challenges. "The agenda has been set. But the outcome of Ireland's referendum will change the European Council agenda to some extent. We need productive time to discuss the situation and look for ways to move forward. Despite this, the June European Council priorities with regard to addressing challenges facing the European Union remain the same," emphasised the Slovenian Prime Minister. He went on to add that the European Council would focus on key challenges and problems that are of major concern to the citizens of the European Union, at the forefront being the rapidly rising prices of oil, fuel, raw materials and food.
"Despite seeking solutions to move forward with the Lisbon Reform Treaty, its ratification and implementation, the European Council will not avoid the topical issues," said the Prime Minister. It is the Prime Minister's firm conviction that the European Council, to be held on Thursday and Friday next week, will provide appropriate answers to these key issues.