Tuesday

28th Feb 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.

Maltese PM hails pope, calls for multispeed EU

Malta's prime minister Joseph Muscat said that Pope Francis has "the skills and vision" to inspire the EU and that some EU countries should integrate more to be able to act.

France's Macron issues Brexit warning

The centrist presidential candidate tells talented Britons to come to France and warns against giving the UK "undue advantages" after Brexit, in a speech in London.

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsFreedom of Association and Expression Under Threat in Kazakhstan, Reports CIVICUS Monitor
  2. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Brussels on March 6th
  3. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  5. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  6. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  7. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  8. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  9. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  10. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  11. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  12. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps