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European Parliament president calls for deal on Irish debt before 2013

Martin Schulz told the Dáil the public must have trust in European leaders – who therefore have to act on their promises.

Martin Schulz:
Martin Schulz: "The Irish programme should be adjusted before the end of the year along the lines of the June European Council conclusions."

THE PRESIDENT of the European Parliament has said EU leaders should follow up on a promise to break the link between Irish sovereign and banking debt – saying any attempt to stall the deal could prove disastrous for the EU as a whole.

Addressing the Dáil this morning, Martin Schulz called on European heads of state and government to follow up on June’s pledges – to break the vicious circle between banking and sovereign debt – before Ireland takes the presidency of the European Council in 2013.

Schulz said his personal conviction was that while individual countries had to live up to their responsibilities to others, this was “one side of the coin”.

“The other side of the coin is solidarity – if one family member gets into troubled waters, the others are called upon to offer a helping hand,” he told TDs.

“The Irish programme should be adjusted before the end of the year along the lines of the June European Council conclusions,” Schulz said to great applause.

The German added that the biggest problem facing the European project as a whole was its lack of trust.

How can we begin to regain the confidence of our citizens if the highest European body, the Council of heads of state and government, is not reliable?

We will never regain the trust of our citizens if we do not honour our promises.

Ireland had “took the burden on your shoulders to avoid the crash of the system of all the other countries,” he said – arguing solidarity had been shown by other European countries in lending to Ireland to get over its financial burden.

The unemployment seen by Ireland was an example that the “recipe isn’t fully working”, he said.

“The first lesson from the crisis is that we need a robust supervisory system to ensure that can never happen again,” Schulz argued. He said the European Parliament had first proposed a scheme for pan-European financial regulation two years ago, and it would continue to do so.

Schulz also said it was vital that the next EU budget – which is currently under negotiation, and due to be finalised at a summit next month – not be cut, as Ireland was a clear example of how EU funds could be channelled to individual countries for their own good.

Ireland had benefited from a total of €30 billion in European funding since it joined the union 40 years ago, Schulz said, heralding Ireland as a clear example of how the European project had been to the benefit of individual countries.

This would be threatened if the EU budget was cut, Schulz said, telling Enda Kenny: “You can count on me – but be sure, Taoiseach, I count on you as well.”

Read: The European Parliament has a new president… but who is he?

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Gavan Reilly

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