Ireland said planing new vote on Lisbon treaty next October

Berlin - Ireland is planning to make a new bid in October 2009 to ratify the EU reform treaty rejected by voters last June, German government and parliamentary sources said Tuesday.

In return, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen is seeking legal guarantees on Irish sovereignty over issues such as abortion, neutrality and taxation, they said. He also wants permanent representation for Ireland in every EU Commission.

The Lisbon Treaty, which aimed to streamline decision-making in the 27-nation bloc, cannot enter force until all member states have ratified it. Apart from Ireland, the Czech Republic is the only member not to have endorsed it.

An Irish government spokesman in Dublin said there was speculation about a second referendum, but no formal decision had been made by the government in Ireland.

Cowen is expected to present his proposals to fellow-EU leaders when they meet for a two-day summit in Brussels on December 12-13.

Most states reportedly want any roadmap agreed at the summit to contain a deadline for ratification of the treaty. Cowen is expected to tell them that the European Parliament elections in June will have to be held under rules of the current Nice Treaty.

German sources said Cowen might be able to obtain opt-outs for Ireland on some issues, but the question of permanent representation on the commission could prove difficult.

The Irish prime minister was in Berlin last week as part of a tour of European capitals to discuss a way out of the impasse.

At a joint press conference ahead of talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, he said: "Any way forward must naturally respond to the concerns of the Irish public, which led to the rejection of the treaty in the referendum last June."

The current French presidency of the EU wants an agreement that Lisbon Treaty should come into force by 2010. (dpa)