Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said any referendum on the new European Union accord may effectively be a vote on the country’s continued euro membership.
The Irish government will start assessing whether it needs to hold a vote after it receives a first draft of the text by the end of the year, Noonan said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “The Pulse” in London today. Irish voters have rejected changes to Europe’s governing treaties twice in the last decade.
“It really comes down on this occasion to a very simple issue; do you want to continue in the euro or not,” Noonan said. “Faced with that question, I think the Irish people will pass such a referendum.”
Last month, European leaders for the first time raised the prospect of the euro area collapsing by framing Greece’s proposed referendum on the terms of its bailout as a vote on nation’s future in the currency union. While Greece dropped the planned vote, European leaders are still scrambling to resolve the debt crisis.
Noonan said that while leaders took “significant steps”at a Dec. 8-9 meeting in Brussels to alleviate investor concerns, they “urgently” need to put in place measures to restore confidence in the euro.
Irish bonds due in 2020 yielded 8.77 percent today, up from 8.06 percent a month earlier. Spain’s 10-year bond yielded 5.69 percent and Italy’s was at 6.8 percent. The yield onGermany’s 10-year bund, Europe’s benchmark, was at 1.92 percent.
Michael McGrath, finance spokesman for the opposition political party Fianna Fail, said Noonan’s comments are “a highly political and deliberate attempt to silence legitimate criticism” of the EU accord.
“The fact that the minister’s language mirrors almost exactly the proposition used by France and Germany to scupper recent plans for a referendum in Greece will not be lost on people,” he said in an e-mailed statement.
The so-called fiscal compact agreed to by 26 of the EU’s 27 members last week requires nations to virtually eliminate structural deficits, creates an “automatic correction mechanism” and enshrines the new measures in national law. There will be tighter control of tax and spending by governments that overstep the bloc’s deficit limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product.
The summit also added to the war chest to protect cash-strapped economies, with an extra 200 billion euros ($260 billion) for the International Monetary Fund.
Noonan said it’s “not certain” that Ireland will need a referendum on the EU accord and that it depends on whether any such text would amount to Irish constitutional change. Prime Minister Enda Kenny said last month it would be “very challenging” to pass a vote on such proposals.
Irish voters rejected changes to the European treaty in 2001 and 2008, before reruns passed the proposals.
In June 2001, Ireland voted against the Nice Treaty, which paved the way for the then 15-nation EU to accept members from eastern Europe. A second ballot was won in October 2002. Seven years later, voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent, even as the country’s biggest parties urged a “yes” vote. In 2009, after securing guarantees on Irish neutrality and taxes, the treaty was carried.
“Ireland needs to be in the euro; a euro breakup would be disastrous for Ireland,” said Alan McQuaid, chief economist at Bloxham Stockbrokers in Dublin. “I would agree with Noonan that if it is a referendum on the euro it is more likely to be passed than something on fiscal austerity and greater fiscal union.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Maryam Nemazee in London at firstname.lastname@example.org; Dara Doyle in Dublin at email@example.com
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Here we have the Dail puppets of Germany (Kenny& Noonan ) trying to muddy the waters. This is not a referendum on the Euro it is a referendum on fiscal austerity and greater fiscal union for the euro zone .This is what Germany needs to control the entire euro region. The last scrap of financial independence is been snatched from us. Germany needs a strong currency and it is bullying all of the other nations of Europe. Having forced us the Irish people to bailout the disastrous investments of Deutsche Bank by taking responsibility for private bank debts,we are now caught in a downward economic spiral that is pauperizing more and more families every day in Ireland through the severe austerity measures they are dictating to the Irish Government who have by the way gone native with their paymasters. The Irish Government have abandoned the needs of their own people for the needs of Deutsche bank. The new tax on people’s homes is just the start of an eventual 1200 euro “Annual Tax ”to be extracted from every family in the country. Don’t forget the water charges that are coming as well!
The current government have lost all credibility with the people ,and their advisers (mostly the same people that advised Fianna Fail) are still pulling the strings of power from the back rooms in Lenster House .These unelected gangsters are enriching themselves taking lottery salaries whilst dreaming up new ways to extract more blood from a increasingly desperate people robbed of all hope of a secure future for themselves and their families. The Government have proven to be ten times worse that the last shower. Despite their protests, whilst in opposition, they are now eagerly serving the Irish people up to their real masters altar of “perpetual austerity”.
Our country is been taken from us piece by piece, at the same time the wealth of the country is been squandered away paying interest on odious debt that we the people are not responsible for. In order for the country to prosper we need a weak currency ( The punt)in order for us to attract new business to the country .If it is cheaper for a company to set up here in Ireland then we will have a flood of companies wanting to set up business here thus jobs will be created and like Iceland we will be able to employ more and more people and thus the economy will grow out of what now looks like a permanent depressed economic zone !.No country has managed to get out of recession without having first devalued its currency .The strong Euro is crippling our economy along with the austerity measures our government in foisting on to its own people. We need to have a cheaper cost base and this is the only way out of the disaster our gombeen politicians and crooked bankers have gotten us into! The Euro is going down and Noonan and his band of collaborators are attempting to sell us out!
Don’t believe a word this over the hill politician is saying belive what you see on the streets, in your own housing estates, look in your own wallet ,are you any better off now ???Noonan and Kenny are attempting to threaten and bully us into financial servitude .The 2500 penalilty for non payment of this new home tax must be resisted !This is nothing but a poll tax and I will not be forced into slavery !