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No plan B if Ireland rejects EU treaty: Spain

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(VIENNA) - Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said here Monday his country, which next takes over the European Union presidency, has no back-up plan if Irish voters again reject the Lisbon Treaty. "We do not have a plan B, it would be bad to already speak of a plan B," Moratinos told a joint press conference after meeting with his Austrian counterpart Michael Spindelegger.

"We hope the Irish people will rule in favour of the treaty," Moratinos added ahead of the Irish referendum on the bloc's reform treaty to be held October 2.

The Spanish minister was in Vienna to present Madrid's plans for its six-month EU presidency, which begins on January 1.

In a first referendum in June 2008, Ireland rejected the Lisbon Treaty with 53.4 percent of votes.

Of the 27 EU nations, Ireland is the only one constitutionally bound to hold a referendum on the treaty, which is designed to improve decision-making in a greatly expanded bloc.

Moratinos also told journalists that he hoped Croatia would be able to complete negotiations to enter the EU under Spain's presidency.

Talks have been stalled since December over a long-standing border dispute with Slovenia.

Finding a solution to the conflict in the Middle East will also be among the Spanish presidency's main priorities, as well as boosting EU ties with the United States, Latin America and the Balkans, Moratinos said.

Disagreements among the bloc's members over Kosovo's independence, which Madrid has not recognised, will not pose any problems, he added.

"We respect different points of view," said Moratinos.

"We all want to promote peace and stability by putting forth a European perspective for Balkan countries," he added.

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