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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 23 March, 2018

Opposition parties disappointed in EU treaty

As the Cabinet meet today, both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin have spoken out against the outcome of yesterday’s informal EU meeting.

Image: Photocall Ireland

THE EU FISCAL compact treaty agreed upon by eurozone leaders at an informal summit last night has been met with criticism from opposition parties in Ireland.

Designed to prevent another debt crisis and tighten budgetary disciplines within the area, the treaty is due to be signed by all 17 eurozone leaders by March, as well as a number of countries which do not use the euro.

Last night, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the summit was a disappointment as no new initiative to overcome the current economic crisis was met.

“The decisions to speed up some single-market measures and to reassign unspent structural funds are welcome but tiny in the face of the scale of Europe’s rising unemployment, particularly among young people,” he said.

Responding to the agreed treaty, Martin said it is “too limited to solve the crisis” and called for more radical steps.

He also called upon Enda Kenny to publish the legal advice he acted upon when agreeing to sign the treaty.

The sentiment was echoed by Sinn Féin’s Padraig MacLochlainn, who said the treaty failed to offer any solutions to the eurozone crisis.

He added that a referendum on the treaty is a “democratic imperative” regardless of what advice is received from the Attorney General.

The party’s spokesperson on jobs Peadar Tóibín added that the 23 million unemployed people across Europe will be “bitterly disappointed” with yesterday’s statement on job creation.

“Vague aspirations don’t create jobs and what we see here is a critical opportunity missed as EU leaders try to divert attention away from failing austerity and bank bailout programmes,” he said.

What we have got is words and promises, no additional money.”

Both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin have said they are seeking their own legal advice on the text of the treaty to see if they believe a referendum is needed to adopt the fiscal controls contained within it.

Martin also noted that it was “troubling” that this is the first time that a EU treaty is not being signed by all member states as the UK and the Czech Republic have declined to adopt the treaty.

The Cabinet is meeting today ahead of the text being sent to the Attorney General who will advise on whether a referendum is needed or not.

There will be no timeframe for which she will have to make her decision, Kenny advised last night.

The final wording of the treaty has not yet been released. However, van Rompuy confirmed it would include a “debt brake” – a legally-binding cap on the level of government debt – for all countries.

The fact that the treaty is enshrined in already-existing rules that will now be enforced more strictly means a referendum could be less likely.

More: EU leaders strike final agreement on new treaty>

More: Kenny: Government has “nothing to fear” from an EU referendum>

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