Europe accepts Government has to fight to get treaty ratified

Arthur Beesley, Irish Times, 08.03.2012

Link to original article


This is the view in Europe: the Irish would be crazy to reject the fiscal treaty. However, the Government faces an enormous challenge to ensure the pact is ratified.

For the Government, risk is everywhere. In a note on last week’s EU summit, senior analyst Janis Emmanouilidis of the European Policy Centre think tank says the vote could easily turn into a referendum on the Government itself or the State’s overall economic situation.

“The decision to hold a referendum, which was announced in the week of the March summit, came as a surprise, as the content and wording of the treaty had been “designed’ to avoid a referendum”, says Emmanouilidis, a well-briefed observer of the EU machine.

“The Irish Government and others had been particularly eager to limit the effects of the fiscal treaty on the national sovereignty of contracting parties.”

Doom-laden headlines notwithstanding, officials in EU institutions and other member states are relatively relaxed about the vote. This has its roots in their reluctance to fret about something that has not happened, and confidence that the main casualty in a No scenario would be Ireland itself.

That, of course, is to ignore the potential for any rejection of the treaty to ripple beyond Ireland. Indeed, Emmanouilidis argues that such an event would have negative repercussions for the debt crisis overall.

“First, it would provoke speculation as to whether Ireland can remain within the euro zone, which would undermine efforts to regain confidence with respect to the ‘historical irreversibility’ of the common currency,” he writes.

“Second, an Irish No to the intergovernmental treaty would raise doubts as to whether the EU, and especially the countries of the euro zone, are able to further deepen economic, fiscal and political integration – whether national political elites are able and citizens ready to support a stronger role for ‘Brussels’ regarding national economic policies.”

Furthermore, Emmanouilidis says an Irish No might complicate ratification elsewhere. “This is not likely to prompt additional referenda, but could lead to a more intense political debate on the fiscal treaty in national parliaments or in the framework of national elections [eg in France].” […]

For the entire article see here.


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