Monday 26 September 2016

British vote 'a chance for Ireland to win more EU leeway'

Published 24/06/2016 | 02:30

Enda Kenny said the entire experience offered an opportunity to revise the EU approach to government investment for productive purposes. He said there were serious contradictions between the EU’s overall policy and detailed restrictions placed by entities like Eurostat. Stock photo: Getty
Enda Kenny said the entire experience offered an opportunity to revise the EU approach to government investment for productive purposes. He said there were serious contradictions between the EU’s overall policy and detailed restrictions placed by entities like Eurostat. Stock photo: Getty

Ireland will use the aftermath of the British referendum to ease restrictions on borrowing for investment especially in housing, the Taoiseach has signalled.

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Mr Kenny said he had written to EU leaders ahead of next week's leaders' summit which will review the outcome of yesterday's UK referendum on EU membership.

The Taoiseach said the entire experience offered an opportunity to revise the EU approach to government investment for productive purposes. He said there were serious contradictions between the EU's overall policy and detailed restrictions placed by entities like Eurostat.

"One cannot have a situation where the President of the Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, was found to have put in place an infrastructural fund of €400bn for major projects across Europe and that countries would have the right to draw on that under certain conditions," Mr Kenny said.

The Taoiseach said the imposition of particular conditions set by Eurostat, which is an independent entity, meant there would be restrictions on what countries could do on borrowing and investment. He added that countries can borrow money at a negative or very low interest rate to provide services and facilities for people, such as housing.

Mr Kenny said such schemes had already been blocked in the case of Britain. "I agree that not everything about the European Union is perfect and that this is an opportunity to reflect on the structure of Europe and on when the European Council makes political decisions, how they should be implemented in the interests of their citizens," the Taoiseach said.

Mr Kenny said he hoped this could be discussed by EU leaders at their June summit on Monday. He said he hoped other EU leaders would offer support at this crucial time.

"That is an issue about which I have already written to the President of the Commission and to the leaders, that others are now taking up and that will become an issue for reflection there," the Taoiseach said.

The leaders delayed their summit meeting to allow for yesterday's summit vote. The EU Commission Peesident, Jean Claude Juncker, and EU Council President Donald Tusk, will give the European Union's formal response to the Brexit vote outcome at 12 noon today in Brussels.

All other EU officials are under strict orders to remain silent until then.

Irish Independent

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