TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has reiterated that Ireland will hold a referendum on the Fiscal Compact Treaty as planned on May 31, despite the victory of French Socialist Francois Hollande in the Presidential election on Sunday.
The new President-elect in France has vowed to renegotiate the treaty, and to include a growth pact in it. He has also pledged to “finish with austerity.”
Deputy Gilmore points out that the incoming French President has not proposed to “reopen” the Treaty, but instead to add a growth agenda, thereby not impacting on the Irish referendum.
Whatever the case, Irish voters will go to the polls on the last day of this month against the backdrop of a very fluid political and economic situation in Europe, and amid renewed concerns and uncertainty over the French and Greek results. The Merkozy alliance which characterised Franco-German relations during this crisis is history.
Hollande’s demand for changes to the Treaty already carries the potential for conflict with the Germans.
For its part, the Irish Government will have to be unequivocal in its reasons for pushing on, and absolutely clear in selling the Treaty to the public.