60% of Irish people are still weighing their options for
the 12 June referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon, according
to a poll published ahead of a visit to Ireland this week
by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Commission President
José Manuel Barroso.
Only 28% of Irish citizens are certain to vote in favour
of the Lisbon Treaty, while 12% said they would reject it, according
to the poll, published by the Irish Sun newspaper on
Monday (14 April).
However, although the number of undecided voters has decreased
from 72% to 60% - compared to a similar poll in December -
the outcome of the referendum is still far from certain. An earlier poll
in March showed a much lower proportion of undecided voters
- with 31% saying they were unsure about how they would vote.
The indecisiveness seems largely due to the lack of knowledge
about the treaty - Only 6% said they fully understand it,
while 25% said they had no understanding of it at all and
40% with very little understanding, according to the poll.
In an attempt to rally support for the treaty, German Chancellor
Angela Merkel delivered a pro-European speech at the National
Forum of Europe in Dublin yesterday, saying that - "the Lisbon
Treaty offers the best preparation for Europe's future" -
and allows the EU to - "continue to flourish".
The Lisbon Treaty would increase the power of smaller EU
states such as Ireland, the chancellor pointed out, as a new
majority voting system allows them to block bigger countries
such as Germany. The new majority voting system is rather
- "a problem for the bigger states" - she said.
Addressing the sceptics, Merkel added - "I can only say that
if everything remains as it is now, your concerns will definitely
not be better addressed."
An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD told journalists that Merkel's
speech was the kick-off for a pro-European campaign in Ireland
this week, with Commission President José Manuel Barroso visiting
on Thursday (17 April).