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Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Enda Kenny: New EU treaty is 'absolutely in Ireland's interest'

Speaking ahead of next week’s EU summit, the Taoiseach said Ireland had “nothing to fear” from the so-called fiscal compact.

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has said signing up to a new EU treaty is “absolutely in the national interest” as Ireland struggles for economic recovery.

“Ireland has nothing to fear and a great deal to gain” from new agreements, he said ahead of a European Council summit next week, at which EU leaders hope to thrash out a final draft of the fiscal compact.

The new treaty will set out tougher economic rules by which member nations must abide, and sanctions if they do not do so. Kenny said this regime would help the euro area recover from its current state of crisis, saying:

Adoption of the treaty will help to generate confidence, the necessary pre-cursor to investment, growth and jobs, here in Ireland and across the euro area and the wider European Union.

He added:

Ireland needs to see this new treaty adopted and enforced. It is absolutely in the national interest to do so.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, the Taoiseach said the Government had been making a concerted diplomatic effort to advance Irish interests ahead of the summit. He said had personally spoken to, or would speak to, several other EU leaders.

The Government is pressing for Ireland’s bailed-out status to be taken into account in the new rules, and assurances that a so-called ‘debt brake’ would only be applied on an “appropriate basis”, Kenny said. He said drafts of the treaty had been “moving in the right direction”.

Addressing widespread speculation on whether a referendum would be held on the new treaty, he said: “If a referendum is required, one will be held.” He added:

The Attorney General will be asked for a formal view once a final text is available. Until then, it is not possible to say definitively and it is not helpful to speculate.

The prime minister of Poland warned today that his country might not support the new fiscal pact, citing concerns that it would divide the EU into countries within the eurozone and those outside.

Donald Tusk called for countries who do not use the euro, such as Poland, to be given some access to talks dealing with the eurozone.

- Additional reporting from AP

More: TDs off to Berlin to discuss 2012 Budget leaks>

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