It seems to be glibly imagined by enthusiasts of greater European integration that the electorate of the Republic of Ireland will tamely come to heel and reverse their recent decision before long, certainly within the next couple of years. But supposing the Irish electorate stick to their guns, as they show every sign of doing? What then?
The noble Lord, Lord Watson of Richmond, said that the ratification of the Nice Treaty by all member states is a necessary step towards enlargement. He is absolutely right. Is it seriously imagined that enlargement can take place with countries not knowing how many votes they will have in the Council of Ministers and how many seats they will have in the European Parliament?
It is also glibly imagined, I am afraid, that there will be no problem about admitting Cyprus while continuing to keep Turkey at arm's length. The Greeks certainly want that to happen—there is no secret about that—but others are rather more discreet. The Germans secretly aim towards that situation. If that were to happen, it would without any question be a breach of the Zurich agreements. Turkey would not take it lying down and it would have the most serious consequences. We should reflect upon this matter.