Voters Reject Treaty to Expand EU Membership

From Times Wire Reports

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."

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