independent

Friday 18 April 2014

European court shoots down TD’s challenge to legality of European bailout fund

THE EU's permanent bailout fund is lawful, the European Court of Justice has ruled, shooting down a challenge by TD Thomas Pringle.





The 27 judges at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the system which will provide €500bn in funding for countries like Ireland can go ahead.

Mr Pringle, who represents Donegal South West, claimed the ESM treaty breaches the Irish Constitution, existing EU treaties and EU law.

He said it was inextricably intertwined with the Fiscal Stability Treaty approved in an Irish referendum last May.

Mr Pringle argued that Ireland could be signed up to pumping money into a fund without having any say about it.

The State does not have a veto over the ESM treaty, which took effect in October after approval by 90pc of the euro zone capital base.

The High Court had asked the ECJ for clarity on the matter when it rejected an attempt earlier this year to force a referendum on Ireland's ratification of the bailout fund.

The court raised three questions: Did EU leaders follow the right procedures when they established this ESM? Is it usable for something outside the EU when the EU would have ultimate competence? And is it correct to ratify the ESM, as countries have been doing, even though the decision to modify the treaty only comes into force in January?

In all three cases the 27 judges told the court that it was lawful.

This ultimately means that the European Stability Mechanism is compatible with EU law.

The ruling was delivered this morning by President of the Court Vassilios Skouris.

Mr Pringle expressed his disappointment after the ruling but said that he was satisfied that the ESM had been legally tested.

The deputy noted that he was concerned about the cost of undertaking the legal action, but felt it was vitally important to take the case.

The Supreme Court in Ireland will make a decision on the costs.



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