Friday 26 June 2009

Pat Cox for Europe?

A new pro-Lisbon group has been launched in Ireland, calling itself Ireland for Europe, and is lead by former Irish MEP and President of the European Parliament Pat Cox. Cox himself could have much to prove in the Lisbon campaign - he could be a great candidate for the next Commission, given his experience in the European Parliament and of European politics, the perception that he's not heavily partisan in Irish political terms, and the fact that his selection would not cause another by-election for the embattled government. (See the analysis by Honor Mahony in her EUobserver blog).

He would also be a credible enough candidate for a decent Commission post, or any Commission post if Lisbon isn't passed and the number of Commissioners is reduced - though, of course, he'd be in a weaker political position in that scenario. Brian Cowen can hardly afford to send any of his cabinet off to Brussels (not many of whom are seen as credible in Ireland), but there's a good list of other possible candidates by Frank Schnittger.

If the referendum is to be won by the pro-Lisbon side, then it probably has to be won by civil society groups such as Ireland for Europe and Generation Yes - I can't see the government putting across a good, clear argument for, and the pro-Lisbon opposition will probably still complain about the government not involving them enough.

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