Jun 01 2012
Irish Vote on Fiscal Treaty Demolishes One of SNPs Key Arguments
One of the SNPs key arguments for ‘Independence in Europe’ is that, like Ireland, it would give them ‘…the power of veto!’ Well, this key vote on the new Fiscal Treaty blows that argument clean out of the water – when it comes to the economy there are no vetoes.
According to European Union (EU) sources, Ireland’s referendum on the EU’s new Fiscal Treaty is likely to pass by a margin of more than three to two. But unlike the Lisbon Treaty ratification, this time the Irish vote matters little for the European Union.
All but two EU countries signed a fiscal pact to tighten budget discipline on 2 March, marking a coup for Germany which sought the accord to prevent a repeat of the loose spending that contributed to the economic crisis.
Only Britain and the Czech Republic did not sign the Fiscal Treaty under which all other countries in the 27-nation bloc are to write a golden rule on balanced budgets into national constitutions or equivalent laws. They also agreed to automatic correction mechanisms if the rule is breached.
While the German-led plan for stricter budget rules needs the approval of only 12 of the 17 euro zone countries to be ratified, an Irish rejection would undermine one of Europe’s key initiatives just as problems mount in Spain and Greece.
The referendum, Ireland’s third on EU legislation in four years, put Dublin back in the spotlight after its implementation of an €85 billion EU/IMF bailout had left others, notably Greece, the focus of euro zone debt concerns.
Every opinion poll since the vote was called in February has indicated a comfortable ratification that would ease concerns about future Irish funding, though a turnout as low as 50%, according to national broadcaster RTE.
So far eight counties have ratified the Fiscal Treaty: Denmark, an EU member that has opted out of the European common currency, ratified yesterday the fiscal compact treaty in its Parliament. The other countries having ratified so far are Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, Poland, Romania and Latvia.
Strangely enough, the core countries of the eurozone have not yet ratified the Fiscal Treaty. EU leaders have set 1 July as a target date for ratifying the treaty, which coincides with the entry into force of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the EU’s permanent bailout fund.