Monday

26th Jun 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

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.

  • 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.

News in Brief

  1. Berlusconi's party sees comeback in Italian local votes
  2. Low turnout in Albanian election set to mandate EU future
  3. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  4. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  5. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  6. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  7. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  8. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. EU approves rescue of Italian banks
  2. Cohesion policy for a stronger Europe
  3. Cheap meat is a bigger problem for climate and health
  4. Ministers to reject minimum parking spaces for electric cars
  5. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  6. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  7. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  8. EU extends sanctions on Russia