Monday

18th Dec 2017

Ireland votes Yes on fiscal treaty, expects EU solidarity

Ireland has voted in a favour of the fiscal discipline treaty but the Yes vote is seen as grudging and the country is now expecting EU "solidarity" in return.

With all votes counted, 60.3 percent voted in favour of the Germany-inspired document enshrining balanced budgets into national law while 39.7 percent vote against. Turnout was 50.6 percent

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Ireland joins Greece, Portugal, Slovenia and non-euro members Denmark, Latvia, Poland and Romania in having ratified the treaty (Photo: William Murphy)

Irish politicians reacted by saying that voters should be rewarded with support at EU-level for initiatives that stimulate economic growth and for a better deal on Ireland's banking debt.

"The Irish people have sent a powerful signal around the world that this is a country serious about overcoming our economic challenges," said Prime Minister Enda Kenny, noting that the result would strengthen Ireland's hand with its EU partners.

"We (must) see progress in the work to secure a more sustainable long-term deal in relation to Ireland’s bank debt. A long-term deal that is workable; that is just," said deputy prime minister Eamon Gilmore.

"The Irish people have shown great judgement and responsibility. Where Member States show such responsibility, the EU should reciprocate with solidarity," said Gay Mitchell, an MEP from the governing centre-right Fine Gael party.

Ireland received an €85 billion EU-International-Monetary-Fund bail-out in 2010, following a spectacular crash in the property sector. Since then, two successive Irish governments have been slashing public spending and raising taxes to meet deficit-reduction targets. In return for harsh reform, the government has for months been seeking to refinance €30 billion of bank debt

An angry Yes?

Even though the Yes vote was strong, politicians admit that it was unlikely to have been due to a strong sense of conviction.

It will be made up of "a lot of angry Yes-es," said social protection minister Joan Burton, ahead of the vote.

Opposition Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said those who voted Yes did so cause they "saw it as a lesser of two evils."

The government conducted a Yes campaign based on fear. It warned that voting down the treaty would block Ireland's access from the permanent eurozone bailout fund, the ESM. The No side had argued the treaty risks locking the country into a downward spiral of austerity.

Joe Higgins, a socialist member of parliament and prominent No campaigner, said there was a "very sharp polarisation" between higher and lower income areas with less well areas tending to reject the treaty.

This will have "important implications for the government," he said on national TV.

For the eurozone itself, the Irish vote was something of a sideshow. The intergovernmental treaty will come into force once 12 of the 17 euro countries ratify it, making Ireland's vote welcome but not a prerequisite.

Other profound problems remain.

The euro area's fourth largest economy, Spain, is in serious trouble with high borrowing costs and a large credit shortfall in its banks.

Meanwhile Greek voters will go to the poll on 17 June and could vote for parties that want to change the austerity terms attached to their bailout - an outcome that would once again raise talk about the country leaving the single currency.

Irish head to polls on fiscal treaty

Irish voters are heading to the polls to decide on the fiscal discipline treaty, amid a stark warning by the Prime Minister that a No would see borrowing costs soar.

Opinion

Irish referendum: anger, fear and some hope

There is no way back to the old, protective (and often even corrupt) national structures. But this does not mean, that we have to give up the principles, procedures and practices of modern democracy. In contrary, writes Bruno Kaufmann.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties