Yes vote 'would heighten risk to Ireland'

Thu, May 17, 2012, 01:00

A vote in favour of the fiscal treaty would make a Greek scenario here more likely, a group of anti-austerity MEPs has warned.

Five members of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left are in Dublin today to campaign for a No vote. They said “horrific austerity” in Greece had been imposed by the EU-IMF troika, and that was causing “historic levels of instability”.

Socialist MEP for Dublin Paul Murphy said it was “quite incredible” to hear Minister for Finance Michael Noonan use the situation in Greece to argue for a Yes vote.

“The situation in Greece has been caused by the horrific austerity demanded by the bail-outs. The Government is lying about Greece, is lying about the question of funding, just as it lied in the Lisbon referendum about jobs,” he claimed.

Portuguese MEP Joao Ferreira said the EU-IMF package for his country had meant a 30 per cent pay-cut for public servants, higher fees for medical care, new laws allowing employers to fire workers more easily and “historic high unemployment and historic social instability”.

“This is what this treaty means across all Europe. It does not mean stability. It means historic social and economic instability. This treaty should be called the impoverishment treaty.”

Sabine Wils, German MEP, said the economic model enshrined in the treaty had “failed working class people in Germany”. It had meant lower wages, worsening working conditions and the erosion of pension rights, she said.

“While it may have helped big business, it has undermined the living conditions of working class people in one of the richest countries in the world. German trade unions are fighting these policies. The people of Europe are beginning to fight back,” she said, pointing to recent election results in France, Germany and Greece.

All spoke of the damage they said the treaty would do to democracy. Soren Sondergaard, Danish MEP, said it would “take away the possibility for change” from populations as its neo-liberal ideology would become law.

Swedish MEP Mikael Gustafsson said “the question of democracy is being overlooked.”

All also spoke of the importance of the Irish vote to the people of Europe.

“You are voting for us all,” said Mr Sondergaard, “for all the working people of Europe who are suffering because of failed austerity policies.”

It was incorrect, he argued, to say Ireland would not have access to the European Stability Fund if the treaty was rejected, or that it necessarily would if it was passed.

“It is a European Stability Fund, not and Irish Stability Fund. It will only grant money where the stability of the euro is in question. And it is not going to refuse Ireland money if feels the euro is under threat.”