EU officials say 'no question' of fiscal treaty changes

Friday 25 May 2012 11.45
The fiscal treaty referendum takes place on 31 May
The fiscal treaty referendum takes place on 31 May

European Union officials have confirmed that there will be no change to the text of the fiscal treaty.

Two separate sources have told RTÉ News that there was "no question" of modifying the treaty, and that the growth agenda as pursued by French President Francois Hollande would be reflected in parallel initiatives.

These initiatives will include growth elements as agreed in principle in last night's EU summit and which will be developed further towards the next summit.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the treaty text will not be changed and that the treaty as it stands will be what Irish voters decide on 31 May.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins has described statements from the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste, that the text will "categorically" not be changed ahead of next week's referendum, as "farcical."

He said it was a "deep insult to the Irish people" to ask them to vote on the treaty without any details of what he described as a "vague promise of some countervailing measures down the line... that are supposed to bring growth and investment".

Later in the Dáil, Mr Higgins said that the German parliament has postponed a vote on the treaty to autumn until it sees concrete proposals for growth and investment.

He said that the Government came back from yesterday's summit with no such proposals, yet it threatens on a daily basis if people do not vote Yes in the treaty.

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty has said that Ireland's ability to veto the granting of legal status to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) could be used to ensure that Ireland would have access to funds, should it need it in the future, if it rejects the fiscal treaty in next Thursday's referendum.

Speaking on Today with Pat Kenny, Mr Doherty said Ireland could request the removal of what he called the "blackmail clause," which stipulates that countries who reject the treaty would not have access to funds from the ESM.

On the same programme, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said any jobs and growth strategy that might be agreed by the EU will apply to Ireland, regardless of whether we vote Yes or No in the fiscal treaty referendum.

Meanwhile, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association has repeated its call for a Yes vote in the forthcoming referendum.

ICSA General Secretary Eddie Punch said that "stability is now of premium importance for Ireland.

''From a farming point of view, instability will further set back important decisions on CAP reform and a decision on the EU budget for the 2014-2020 period,'' he added.

Keywords: fiscal treaty,

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