Thursday

23rd Mar 2017

Ireland plans referendum body on possible EU treaty poll

  • Ireland received an EU-IMF bail-out in 2010 (Photo: informatique)

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.

"I cannot give you an indication now as to whether there will actually be a referendum in respect of the inter-governmental agreement from the European business until the text is finalised and we get the advice of the attorney general," said Kenny on Tuesday (28 December), according to PA.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"What I am going to do though is set up the Referendum Commission on a much more permanent basis so that the commission will be able to reflect in readiness as to what is actually going to happen."

Referendum commissions are set up ahead of each referendum in Ireland to give neutral information on the topic being put to vote.

EU leaders, with the exception of Britain, agreed earlier this month to tighten up fiscal and budgetary surveillance in the eurozone in the form of an inter-governmental pact.

With the 17 eurozone states under pressure to agree the text as soon as possible, Ireland is already in the spotlight for the possible problems it might have with ratification.

Attorney general Marie Whelan is examining the details of the agreement - a draft of which was circulated on 16 December - to see if they imply a change to Ireland's constitution through more powers being handed over to the EU level. This would require a referendum.

Ireland is feeling the pressure after having seen the last two EU treaties - the Nice and Lisbon Treaty - rejected by voters. Subsequent referendums saw both treaties then accepted.

But the governments at the time came under fierce criticism, particularly in the case of the Lisbon Treaty, for being too complacent about the result in the run-up to the first referendum and and letting critics of the treaty frame the debate.

This time round, the current government also has to contend with the fact that a potential referendum would take place as the Irish continue to endure swingeing austerity measures, put in place in return for an EU-IMF bailout in 2010.

The Irish government, gloomy about the prospect of a Yes vote under such conditions, has rejected a call by the opposition to hold a referendum on the treaty regardless of whether one is legally required.

“You don’t go holding a referendum unless you have to and clearly the advice of the attorney general is what the government will act on as we’ve always done," said Kenny, according to the Irish Times.

Meanwhile, Ireland's EU partners have already anticipated its potential ratification problems.

The treaty draft circulated earlier this month suggested that the agreement will enter into force once nine countries have ratified it - although it is thought that Berlin may want to raise this threshold to ensure as many eurozone states are on board as possible.

Doubts increase over usefulness of new fiscal treaty

Just a few days into the making of a new intergovernmental treaty on fiscal discipline, serious questions are being raised about whether the slight draft offered to date is either useful or necessary.

New treaty in force when 9 countries have ratified

The first draft of a new treaty meant to tighten economic governance in eurozone countries was circulated Friday with the aim to have the text finalised by January and coming into force once nine countries have ratified it.

Denmark stuck in EU treaty quagmire

Days away from taking over the EU's rotating presidency that will be responsible in part for steering through a new intergovernmental treaty, the Danish government has become stuck in a quagmire of domestic resistance to the so-called fiscal compact.

Ireland to hold referendum on fiscal compact

The Irish government will hold a referendum on the EU's new fiscal treaty. The pact can still enter into force in other euro-countries if it says No, but Dublin would not be eligible for future bail-outs.

Softer draft of fiscal treaty opens door for UK

Less stringent constitutional demands, a weaker role for the EU commission and a provision allowing the UK to join at a later stage are among the most recent changes to the draft treaty on fiscal discipline.

French candidates avoid EU debate

In their first TV debate, the main candidates for the April election only briefly discussed the country's EU policies, with far-right Le Pen and centrist Macron taking aim at each other.

News in Brief

  1. Man arrested in Antwerp after trying to mow people down
  2. Marine Le Pen goes to Russia
  3. Dutch post-election talks prioritise green-right coalition
  4. EU summons Turkish envoy over threats to Europeans
  5. British police make first arrests in London terror probe
  6. EU commission has received Facebook reply on WhatsApp
  7. Rome expects thousands of protesters at summit
  8. Dijsselbloem says his comments had 'Dutch directness'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  2. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  4. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  5. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  6. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  8. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  9. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  10. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  11. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change
  12. European Free AllianceSupporting Artur Mas: Democracy and Freedom Cannot Be Convicted

Latest News

  1. Hohe Cyber-Bedrohung für Frankreichs Wahlen
  2. 'No zero terror risk', EU security commissioner warns
  3. UN could step in where EU fails in child migrant protection
  4. May: London attacker was known to the police
  5. Ending the migrant deal with Turkey may save the EU
  6. Poland unlikely to face EU discipline on rule of law
  7. Rutte courted Wilders' voters, now he must deliver
  8. Barnier to UK: trade talks will come after settling accounts