Thursday

21st Jun 2018

Ireland to hold referendum on fiscal compact

  • Enda Kenny says the Irish people need to be consulted on the fiscal treaty (Photo: Council of European Union)

In a surprise move, the Irish government on Tuesday (28 February) decided to hold a referendum on the new intergovernmental treaty on fiscal discipline demanded by Germany for future eurozone bail-outs.

"The Irish people will be asked for their authorisation in a referendum to ratify the European stability treaty," Prime Minister Enda Kenny told parliament in an unplanned intervention.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

His announcement came after a legal opinion by the country's attorney general which was largely expected to say no referendum would be needed for the ratification of the brief legal text. The new treaty enshrines a 'balanced budget' rule in national legislation and gives the European Court of Justice the right to impose sanctions if the rule is not transposed properly.

The so-called fiscal compact, initially planned to be an amendment to the existing EU treaty, was vetoed by the UK in December, which forced other member states to draft it as a separate intergovernmental act. The Czech Republic also opted out in the end, with a formal signing ceremony at 25 - including Ireland - expected on Friday in Brussels.

"I am very confident that when the importance and merit are communicated to the Irish people that they will endorse it emphatically by voting yes to continuing economic stability and recovery," Kenny said.

EU-related votes have a sorry history in Ireland, where the Lisbon Treaty had to be put twice to a referendum, as voters in first said no to the EU legal text and only reluctantly agreed to it in 2010, amid worsening economic conditions and increased pressure from other member states and the EU commission to approve it.

Even as Ireland is currently being portrayed as a 'role model' for the way it has stuck to the austerity programme linked to the €90 billion bail-out it received at the end of 2010, popular anger is high as people see that the money was mostly used to bail out banks, not to create more employment and growth.

A Yes vote seems unlikely, especially since other euro-countries do not rely on Ireland to allow for the treaty to come into force.

A minimum of 12 out of eurozone's 17 member states have to ratify the text for it to come into force.

But if Ireland does not ratify the treaty, it will no longer be eligible for future bail-outs from the European Stability Mechanism - a permanent, €500 billion-strong fund to be set up in July.

Ireland plans referendum body on possible EU treaty poll

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has said he intends to establish a permanent referendum commission so that the public is fully prepared for a possible poll on the fiscal discipline treaty currently being drawn up by member states.

New EU deal faces multiple referendum threat

Within hours of arriving at a fragile treaty deal for the eurozone and nine other EU states, the agreement delivering deeper integration is already confronting the spectre of multiple referendums and a host of legal barriers.

Irish to vote as treaty is outside normal EU structures

The drafters of the fiscal discipline treaty tried to ensure it would not trigger an Irish referendum but a fact beyond their control - that it was outside EU structures - means Irish people will get to vote on it.

Twenty five EU leaders sign German-model fiscal treaty

Germany's vision of an EU of fiscally prudent states held in check by tight budgetary laws and the threat of legal action came a step closer on Friday when 25 leaders signed a new fiscal treaty.

Interview

Academic to probe EU's secret law-making

A German PhD candidate has recently started conducting interviews about how the EU's behind-closed-doors 'trilogues' actually work. "Now the fun work starts," he says.

News in Brief

  1. PES to announce 'spitzenkandidat' names in October
  2. Macedonian parliament ratifies name deal
  3. EU to hit US with import duties from Friday
  4. Commission: New on-road CO2 test would take years
  5. Juncker orders migration 'mini-summit' on Sunday
  6. Luxembourg gave illegal state aid to energy firm
  7. Negotiators lower finger printing age of refugees to six
  8. EU to lift its internal data storage barriers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Latest News

  1. How to get around the EU posted workers directive
  2. EU needs comprehensive 'sexuality education'
  3. Fate of EU refugee deal hangs in the balance
  4. Merkel, Macron in pre-summit pledge on migration, eurozone
  5. Hungary to push ahead with 'Stop Soros' law on NGOs
  6. Swedish party puts EU referendums back in fashion
  7. EU summit set to outsource asylum
  8. Dutch request to clarify Brexit Britons' rights annulled

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us