Alyn Smith MEP has given a cautious reaction to the news that the people of Ireland are to hold a referendum to approve the draft EU Stability Treaty.
The agreement, due to be signed this coming Friday at a summit in Brussels, will usher in a tougher and more transparent set of rules in the governance of the eurozone, and had been expected to be approved by the Irish Parliament by parliamentary vote.
The Irish Attorney General has advised that under the Irish constitution the agreement should be approved by the people, and a vote will be held as soon as practicable after the signing of the agreement.
Mr Smith said:
“At first glance, this is just what we didn’t need, but the EU must respect the constitutional traditions of the Member States and if, in the view of the Irish Attorney General, a referendum is needed then so be it.
“Done right, this will ensure actual public support in Ireland for the new regime, so will ensure a sustainable support having properly debated the issues. The Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny says he is confident of a ‘yes’ vote.
“However, in the event of a ‘no’ vote it does not halt the package as a whole. As a handy, and wholly unexpected, consequence of the disastrous UK phantom veto the agreement is already outside of the EU architecture so does not need unanimity to proceed, instead just the ratification by 12 Eurozone countries.
“An Irish ‘no’ will simply mean that Ireland does not participate, and those Member States who are minded to will continue. How that eventuality would play out for Irish membership of the eurozone should they seek to take advantage of the new support mechanisms would be uncharted waters.”