Treaty text 'will not change'

 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore have both insisted there will be no changes to the text of the fiscal treaty on which the Irish electorate will vote in next week's referendum.

They were speaking after EU leaders wrapped up six hours of talks on the debt crisis early this morning, with the German and French leaders acknowledging a deepening schism over the contentious question of jointly issued euro bonds.

Mr Kenny said there was strong support in some quarters for the proposal to use the European Stability Mechanism to recapitalise the banks.

However, he acknowledged leaders attending the informal dinner summit disagreed on some of the main mechanisms proposed to stimulate growth in the EU.

In particular, there was disagreement about the possible use of the European Investment Bank to fund infrastructural projects, he said, but the meeting agreed to ask the board of the bank to consider increasing its lending capacity.

In relation to eurobonds, “people were clear that this would be a very long process indeed,” he cautioned.

Mr Kenny described proposals for the creation of project bond as fine, but warned that they needed to be flexible for smaller countries and shouldn’t just be confined to trans-continental projects.

Mr Kenny described the meeting as very positive and upbeat. “The momentum is now palpable from European leaders to focus on a strategy towards producing an agenda for growth on which I hope decisions can be made in June,” he said.

Mr Kenny reported to the meeting on the progress of the fiscal treaty referendum in Ireland and also about his recent visit to China.

He said it was clear from the meeting that the treaty Irish people will be voting on next Thursday was not going to be changed and that anything agreed in respect of the growth agenda would be additional.

He said the EU leaders had sent a message to the Greek people that it should stay a member of the euro but that they should also live up to their commitments.

But Socialist MEP Paul Murphy, who is calling for a No vote, said the Government and the pro-treaty side were “outrageously attempting” to use what was happening in Greece to scare people into voting Yes. This was incredible, he said, as Greece was the first country to ratify the stability treaty and “look at the stability that has resulted”.

“What’s has happened in Greece is a product not of left policies being implemented, not of burning the bondholders, not of implementing policies in the interests of ordinary people who are struggling against austerity," he told a press conference in Dublin this afternoon.  “What’s happened in Greece is a consequence of austerity heaped, heaped upon austerity and two memoranda with the troika which have devastated society.”

Earlier today, Mr Gilmore repeated assurances there would be no change to the text of the European fiscal treaty.

“Absolutely categorically, there will be no change to the text of the treaty that has been agreed and that has been signed…the treaty that people are voting on this day week will not be changed,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme.

He also insisted any new stimulus plans discussed at the meeting in Brussels will be separate and will not be formally considered until the next EU meeting in June.

Mr Gilmore, who was not present at the dinner, said the meeting had brought clarity to the question raised by some fiscal treaty opponent, who were claiming there would be changes to the treaty. “It is clear there will be no change,” he said.

Mr Kenny said there was a general consensus that there shouldn’t be an “over-hyping of expectations” of the outcomes of summits. Growth could be difficult to implement in a short time in any country. He also warned that promises by countries had to be carried through and there had to be a recognition of “who is not shaping up” on competitiveness.

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