updated 9/4/2009 3:54:55 PM ET 2009-09-04T19:54:55

Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin acknowledged Friday that trying to get a yes vote in the Oct. 2 referendum on the European Union's stalled reform treaty will be a tough task.

Martin said it will be "a challenging campaign."

A poll published by the Irish Times on Friday showed the gap narrowing, with support for the treaty between at 46 percent, down eight points from May.

People who plan to vote no increased up one point, to 29 percent, and the number of undecided grew by seven points to 25 percent. The poll of 1,000 people had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

"Basically, it's all to play for over the next month," Martin told reporters outside EU foreign ministers talks in Stockholm.

Efforts to get the treaty approved by Irish voters — the only EU country that requires a vote on new EU charters — are threatened by the government's increasing unpopularity due to its handling of the recession. A poll released earlier this week showed support for the government at a historic low.

Martin said his government was "hopeful" voters will approve the treaty.

It will be Ireland's second vote on the treaty. Voters rejected it last year.

In July, Prime Minister Brian Cowen called a new referendum after securing concessions from EU partners to ensure the European Union will not erode Ireland's military neutrality, its control over taxes and its family laws.

Opponents of the treaty had claimed it would force Ireland to raise taxes, legalize abortion, liberalize divorce laws and force the country's army to participate in EU operations.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the EU presidency, said the EU had listened to the concerns of Irish voters. European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said he would head to Ireland soon to help campaign for the treaty's approval.

The reform treaty, which aims to streamline how the 27-nation bloc makes decisions and bolster its role on the world stage, needs the approval of all EU national parliaments before it can come into force.

All other EU nations have already approved the treaty, although the presidents of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic have yet to sign it into law. Czech President Vaclav Klaus has said he will do so only if Ireland votes in favor.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments