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U2's Bono Urges Ireland to Vote 'Yes' in Nice Poll

Posted on Thursday, July 18 @ 07:42:09 CEST by Macphisto

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Rock star Bono has urged skeptical Irish voters to ratify the Nice European Union enlargement treaty in a referendum later this year.

Ireland threw the EU's expansion plans into turmoil when it rejected Nice 54-to-46 percent in a first referendum last year.

"For God's sake, if we blow that what are we? I go to meetings with politicians in Europe, they always bring it up," the U2 frontman said in an interview with Irish state radio.

They cannot believe that Ireland did what they did on the Nice Treaty. I noticed a lot of politicians getting very angry."

"I think to vote 'No' is going to make Ireland look very selfish," added Bono, who has become well known as a campaigner for the eradication of Third World debt.

Bono's endorsement is a breath of fresh air for the pro-Nice camp, whose political leaders are struggling to attract support in the face of widespread apathy among Ireland's large young population.

Recent opinion polls have detected rising anti-Nice sentiment and waning support for a second poll, expected to be held in October, with some voters angry that they are being asked to vote on the same document twice.

The treaty will expire if not signed by all EU members by the end of 2002, vastly complicating the admission of 12 new states, mostly from Eastern Europe.

Bono's pro-EU stance contrasts with fellow Dubliner and aid campaigner Bob Geldof, who sparked a furor recently by coming out in opposition to the euro currency in a British cinema commercial.

In the interview, broadcast on Wednesday night and widely picked up in Thursday's newspapers, Bono said he had a wonderful life and slammed stars who moan about the pressure of fame.

"I hate whingeing rock stars. I really hate them. I have an amazing life. I know it's incredible," he said.

But the 42-year old, known for his trademark wraparound blue sunglasses, said there were some downsides to fame.

"There are other aspects which are annoying, invasion of privacy sometimes," he said. "I'm the only person I know who takes off his sunglasses to keep a low profile. To go incognito I take them off."

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