On the occasion of the Irish yes to the Nice Treaty at the referendum on 19 October 2002, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen states:
“It is very satisfactory that the Irish electorate accepted the Treaty of Nice at the referendum yesterday. The Irish people have taken an important decision. Not only for Ireland. But for the EU as a whole and not least for the enlargement.
A short while ago I had a telephone conversation with my Irish colleague, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and congratulated him on the splendid result of the referendum.
The results of the referendum send a clear and positive signal to the Central and Eastern European countries that all EU Member States take the enlargement seriously. The Treaty of Nice is the enlargement Treaty of the EU. We have now paved the way for the European Council in Copenhagen to conclude the accession negotiations and welcome the first new Member States in our Community.
The enlargement is an exceptional historic opportunity to unite the European continent. It is the ambition of the Danish Presidency to conclude the accession negotiations with 10 countries. In the run-up to the Copenhagen Summit, the Presidency will work with energy and determination to achieve this goal. But the Presidency cannot solve this issue by itself. We all have to make a substantial effort and be ready to compromise. That requires that everybody, Member States and Candidate Countries, live up to their responsibility.
The first important step towards this goal is the meeting of The European Council in Brussels on 24-25 October 2002. If we are to keep the time schedule, it is of decisive importance that we make the necessary decisions in Brussels on the offer from the EU Member States to the Candidate Countries.
I am pleased that with the result of the Irish referendum we have got the best possible point of departure for these negotiations.”