Ratification process should proceed

The outcome of the Irish referendum has been described as very disappointing by the Maltese Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as by the new 34 year old leader of the opposition Joseph Muscat (MEP, socialist group). Most pundits in Malta in the political sector and academic area are echoing José Manuel Barroso that the ratification process should proceed, and Ireland should eventually decide upon its future in the EU. Thus while the outcome of the referendum is regarded as a setback the majority believe that the ratification process should proceed nevertheless. Also of direct concern to Malta is the fact that without the Lisbon Treaty, Malta will not gain its 6th MEP like other small member states in the EU.
 
The government has repeated that while it will respect the Irish outcome, the process of ratification should proceed and then a decision be made on how to continue to proceed. Some pro-EU integration analysts have argued that perhaps the time has come for a two speed Europe to emerge – then once everyone, or at least the majority have ratified the treaty, the Irish can be given another chance to decide on their future. Of major concern is that without the Lisbon Treaty the EU will not be able to function smoothly, which will thus undermine its credibility to conduct an effective and higher-profile foreign policy role in international relations.