ESM treaty to be ratified

Tue, Jul 31, 2012, 01:00

The Government is to begin the process of ratifying the European Stability Mechanism Treaty tomorrow following a Supreme Court judgment rejecting an application to stop the process.

A Government spokesman said this evening they would lodge the documents required to begin the ratification process with the General Secretariat of the Council of the EU in Brussels.

Formal ratification would take place once the General Secretariat had processed the documents, he said.

Earlier the Supreme Court refused to grant Independent TD Thomas Pringle an injunction restraining the Government ratifying the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) treaty.

The treaty provides for a conditional bailout fund for distressed States in the euro zone.

The injunction would have stopped the Government from ratifying the treaty pending a European court decision on its lawfulness.

If the Court of Justice of the EU ultimately upholds Mr Pringle's claims that the ESM treaty unlawfully breaches provisions of the EU treaties, he will have his remedy, the Supreme Court said.

The seven judge Supreme Court also today rejected Mr Pringle's claims that the ESM treaty breaches the Irish Constitution on grounds it provides for an impermissible transfer of financial sovereignty.

The court did not consider the treaty involved a transfer of sovereignty so as to make it incompatible with the Constitution such that a referendum is necessary before it may be ratified, the Chief Justice, Ms Justice Susan Denham, said when delivering the court's ruling.

The court regarded the treaty as an agreement to pursue a defined policy of the Government, she said.

In its ruling, the court also set out the wording of questions to be referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) relating to the validity of the European Council Decision of March 2011 providing for establishment of an ESM. The court has also asked the CJEU to decide whether Irish ratification of the treaty would mean Ireland was undertaking obligations incompatible with the EU treaties.

The seven judge court is asking the CJEU to address the issues under its accelerated procedures on grounds the matter is "of exceptional urgency".

It previously noted the Government takes the view it is essential Ireland be involved in the ESM treaty from the outset and the Government's concern a range of adverse consequences may ensure if Ireland does not ratify the treaty in the short term.

Mr Pringle has disputed that ratification is urgent in circumstances including Germany will not ratify before at least September 12th due to a legal action there.

The Supreme Court will give a full judgment later outlining the reasons for the findings in its ruling. It has adjourned Mr Pringle's appeal pending the CJEU decision on the issues referred. Mr Pringle had appealed to the Supreme Court against the High Court's rejection of his claims the treaty breaches the Irish Constitution and EU law.