Irish

Friday 25 July 2014

Cameron opens up Pandora's Box with referendum

Published 24/01/2013|05:00

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THAT was quick. German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday moved to reassure the UK that its views on the shape of Europe matter, and called for "compromise."

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The rapid move to assuage Britons came just hours after British Prime Minister David Cameron's wild throw of the dice by calling an "in or out" referendum on his country's membership of the European Union.

Cameron's move, it seems, is already paying dividends, at least for him.

Angela Merkel's effort to head off the threat of a 'Brexit' is a dramatic about-face by the German Chancellor. Arguably her uncompromising stance in 2011 helped force Cameron into his referendum gamble by ignoring the UK attempt to veto the Fiscal Treaty at a bruising European leaders' summit.

The whole situation poses a huge question here – what does it all mean for Irish business?

With a referendum possible only after 2017, there'll be no end of neighing and braying on the issues in the coming years. Much of it is bound to be nonsense, some of it dangerously so.

Not only do we share a lengthy land border, but the UK is still our biggest trading partner.

UK consumers are the critical market for indigenously owned exporters, especially when it comes to food and drink.

The Punt hopes that nobody in Brussels, Berlin or indeed, Dublin and London, is allowed to lose sight of that.

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