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MAYNOOTH, Ireland — On Oct. 2, Irish voters go to the polls for a second time to decide whether to adopt the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty. The mood in EU capitals is one of nervousness as polling day looms, with the future of the EU in the hands of Ireland’s unpredictable voters. On two of the last three occasions that the Irish have been asked to vote on an EU Treaty, they have rejected the proposal.

For the EU, the stakes could not be higher. The Lisbon Treaty was the compromise agreed by EU leaders in the aftermath of the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty in popular referendums in France and the Netherlands in 2005. Much negotiating blood has been spilled on the treaty, and its rejection a second time by Irish voters would leave the EU unable to ratify and implement its provisions; this would inevitably lead to policy paralysis and institutional decay.

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