Hayes warns of dangerous forces emerging in Europe

Wed, May 16, 2012, 01:00

DANGEROUS VOICES and forces were emerging in Europe once again, Minister of State at the Department of Finance Brian Hayes has warned.

He told the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly: “We must never take for granted what has been achieved in Europe during the last 60 years.”

Mr Hayes warned the gathering of parliamentarians from the two countries that there was “a real danger in many European countries, including our own, of a lost generation of young people”.

Speaking at the conclusion of the assembly’s two-day plenary session, held for the first time in Leinster House, he said the fate of the single currency constituted “a very big shadow on the horizon”.

“When confidence drains away no institution is safe,” Mr Hayes said. Current efforts to “retrofit” the euro were “like carrying out open-heart surgery on a patient while he is still walking around”, he added.

“As politicians we must be aware that the economic crisis has undermined trust in politics itself.

“Dangerous voices and dangerous forces are emerging in Europe once again. We must never take for granted what has been achieved in Europe during the last 60 years.

“Just one statistic to remind us – historians have estimated that approximately 80 million people died violently in Europe in the first 50 years of the last century. . .

“The peace process for Europe – the European Union must continue to have our full and active support,” he added.

In a discussion on British-Irish business links, Sally Storey of GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceuticals said “thousands of companies” throughout Ireland, including her own, would be “paying very close attention” to the outcome of the fiscal treaty referendum.

“I very much agree with the Taoiseach and the chief executive of the IDA when they also say that economic certainty is a critical factor in attracting foreign direct investment.” The assembly also endorsed a proposal for an annual British-Irish trade mission.