British exit would spell disaster for eurozone, warns Enda
Published 11/04/2014 | 02:30
THE Taoiseach has said he shares British concerns about the existence of red tape within the European Union but issued a stark warning against the prospect of an exit by Britain.
Enda Kenny has insisted that EU membership places countries on "higher ground" and that Britain's membership in particular is "fundamentally critical" in ensuring the future of the EU.
In his strongest remarks yet about the prospect of a British exit, Mr Kenny said that prosperity for both the British and Irish people depends heavily on membership of the EU.
"It's a matter for the British people what they do with their challenge with their vote situation, but for the single market, for the 500 million people therein, for the opportunities that lie both here and across the Atlantic ... this is where the prosperity and higher ground is for our people and for the British people," he said.
Mr Cameron has promised a referendum on Britain's EU membership by the end of 2017, if his Tory party is returned to power.
Referring to concerns expressed by British politicians, including Mr Cameron, about the problem of red tape within the EU, Mr Kenny said these are matters that can be dealt with at European Council level.
"That's why I think it's important to be able to say publicly that's its fundamentally critical for the future of the European Union that Britain be a strong member of that," he added, at an event hosted by the Irish International Business Network.
Mr Kenny said he hopes to take part in a joint trade mission with Mr Cameron, which would have been "unimaginable a few years ago".
Mr Kenny began his address by remembering the "tingling on the back of his neck" upon watching Queen Elizabeth arrive at Aras An Uachtarain to inspect a guard of honour on her 2011 state visit to Ireland.
Mr Kenny said that he felt this same sensation during President Michael D Higgins' State visit this week.