FIANNA FÁIL’S former deputy leader Éamon Ó Cuív has taken fire at French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel for their “usurping” of the European Union.
Speaking on radio this morning, Ó Cuív outlined the behaviour of the two major European leaders as one of the reasons he had reservations about supporting the fiscal compact in the forthcoming referendum.
Ó Cuív was speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Pat Kenny after yesterday resigning as the Deputy Leader of the Fianna Fáil party, saying he had a fundamental policy difference with the party on whether to back the fiscal compact.
“In the last year, two members of the European Union – that is, France and Germany, and that’s Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy – have been usurping the architecture and the rules and the treaties of the European Union by usurping the position of the [European] Commission.
Under Europe the whole idea, with big and small countries being there, was that the Commission proposes the policy, and the ministers dispose of it. What we’re having now in the last year is the two powerful members, meeting together and saying, ‘Sorry, we’re going to take over from teh Commission here, and we’re going to propose the policy.
That is anti-every rule, and every treaty, that we have signed.
Ó Cuív also revealed he was “flabbergasted” when he learned that Fianna Fáil planned to back the fiscal compact “hook, like and sinker, without condition”.
“I think a lot of people thought – and I certainly thought, as Deputy Leader – that in calling for a referendum, that we would not be supporting this unless the issues I am talking about were dealt with,” Ó Cuív said.
He further added that European leaders appeared happy to offer further financial regulations on member states, but that such regulation should instead be concentrated on the banking sector.
“We all bought light-touch regulation, let’s be honest about it,” the Galway West TD said, adding that the universal subscription to such practices “brought untold misery to millions of people”.
We didn’t have Budget deficits during the good years – what actually was the problem is a banking problem.
It seems that Europe is more than willing to regulate countries – but totally unwilling because of their competition policies, because of the absolute God they’ve made of the free market, because of the absolute God they’ve made of the free market, are unwilling to regulate the banks.
The former communications spokesman and Social Protection minister also said he did not anticipate having to leave the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, which he would have to do if he was to break ranks in any Dáil votes.
Although he had reservations about the compact, Ó Cuív said he would vote in favour of the legislation when it came through the Dáil because he did not oppose the idea of putting the paper to the public.
“On what basis would I vote against holding a referendum? I have no problem in putting this issue to the Irish people,” he said.