Irish voters, in a stunning blow to the European Union's eastward expansion plans, have firmly rejected a treaty to expand the EU.
The voters rejected the treaty by a vote of 54% to 46%. The treaty was approved last year by the 15 EU members in Nice, France, to streamline the alliance before it admits more members after 2004.
In a joint statement, the president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, and Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said the EU would work with the Irish government to "find a way forward . . . without changing the substance of the Nice treaty."