At a glance
Ireland and the EU
Ireland’s place is in Europe. Co-operation with our European partners is essential if we are to meet the challenges facing us in the time ahead.
Ireland does not need more austerity and bank bailout linked EU/IMF loans. We need a change of direction aimed at investing in jobs and growth and reducing the debt burden.
Ireland’s position as a member of the EU and Eurozone is secure no matter what way we vote on the Austerity Treaty.
The Austerity Treaty won’t work
There is an urgent need to stabilise the currency. The Eurozone crisis is having a negative impact on the social and economic well being of people throughout the EU.It is blocking a return to economic growth.
The Austerity Treaty will not solve the Eurozone crisis. It is bad economics and bad politics. The ‘one size fits all’ monetary policy was part of the problem; adding a draconian and intrusive ‘one size fits all’ fiscal policy as outlined in the Austerity Treaty, will only make matters worse.
The Treaty is not a fiscal compact. It is an austerity compact. It seeks to impose right wing austerity policies on Irish and EU governments in perpetuity.
It means more austerity and at least €6 billion more in cuts and taxes from 2015 on top of the cuts in the next three budgets.
Putting the new 0.5% of GDP structural deficit limit into the Irish Constitution will mean that the government will have to implement austerity budgets not just to 2015 as required by the EU/IMF programme, but for its full term of office and beyond. This means more cuts to frontline health, education and community services and more stealth taxes like the household charge.
Introducing a stronger excessive deficit procedure compelling member states with debt-to-GDP ratios above 60% to reduce that debt by 5% annually and with deficits above 3% of GDP will mean that austerity will be even more severe than in recent years.
This will lead to a decade of austerity and economic stagnation. Unemployment and emigration will rise. Poverty and inequality will affect more and more people. National and household debt, already at unsustainable levels, will increase. And crucially the arbitrary and draconian 0.5% deficit target will not be reached.
It hands even more economic power over to unelected officials in the European Commission
The Treaty undermines member state democracy.
If the European Commission decides Ireland is breaking their rules, there will be a legally binding obligation on the government to enter into an “Economic Partnership Programme” and allow the European Commission to dictate policy on tax and budgetary matters. This means a detailed and invasive European Commission programme, modeled on the current Troika bailout programme.
It allows the European Court of Justice to impose fines of €160 million
Significant additional powers are to be given to the European Court of Justice and the European Commission to police the debt and deficit ceiling and the strengthened excessive deficit procedure. The Treaty gives the European Court of Justice power to determine whether Ireland is obeying the debt and deficit rules and they can impose fines of up to €160 million (0.1% of GDP)
Private Sector involvement in debt write down has been ruled out
The 9 December 2011 European Council agreement underlying the Treaty explicitly ruled out any private sector involvement in future debt write-downs. This means that the taxpayer, irrespective of the social and human cost, will pay all toxic-banking debts.
The Treaty is a step too far – it is binding and permanent
If the Irish people ratify this Treaty it can only be changed by a future referendum and with the agreement of the other EU states, who signed up to it.
The black mail clause linking ratification to ESM eligibility is an empty threat
The blackmail clause is an empty threat to try and bully people into supporting the Austerity Treaty. It is not an article of the ESM treaty but a recital and therefore does not have any legal standing, particularly if it is in conflict with the primary mandate of the European Stability Mechanism as outlined in Article 136 of the EU treaties.It could not be used to deny funding to a member state if to do so threatened the stability of the Eurozone as whole
The Government has a veto on the ESM, by virtue ofhaving a veto over the amendment to Article 136 of the European Treaties. If the Austerity Treaty is rejectedby the people, the government should seek a further amendment to the ESM Treaty removing the blackmail clause and use its veto on this matter if required.
A second bailout is not in the interests of the citizens of this state, indeed a second bailout is evidence of the failure of the first bailout. We believe that the best way to avoid a second bailout is abandon the failed policies of bank bailouts and austerity and invest in jobs while writing down our debt including the promissory note
The ESM is not the only source of emergency funding. It was never the only option.