Business Irish

Friday 17 November 2017

It's not in our interests for UK to be isolated, warns Gilmore

EUROPE

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore said Ireland will reach out to the UK in the coming months as the new EU budgetary proposals are finalised.

Mr Gilmore also repeated his stance that Ireland would hold a referendum on the proposals if it was needed to save the euro.

He said the deal agreed last week had to be fully finalised by March, and only then would it become clear if a referendum was needed.

"Ultimately until we see that finally drafted, it isn't possible to give a conclusive legal opinion whether or not a referendum is required," Mr Gilmore said.

"As I said in the Dail last Thursday, the issue is not whether we have a referendum or not. The first priority is that we take the steps that are necessary to secure the euro.

"That's in Ireland's national interest and if, in certain circumstances, that requires a referendum, we'll have one."

The Foreign Affairs Minister also said it was not in Ireland's interest to have the UK isolated within Europe.

British Prime Minister David Cameron used his veto to keep the UK out of the deal to save the euro, isolating his country from the rest of the EU.

"Britain is our nearest neighbour, a close friend," Mr Gilmore said. "They voluntarily came to Ireland's assistance last year by way of a bilateral loan when the bailout was agreed to.

"It's not in our interests that Britain is isolated within the EU and you can take it that there will be quite an amount of bilateral discussion between Ireland and Britain over the next period of time, both about their position with the EU, about common agendas that Ireland has with Britain within the union and, indeed, in relation to their position in relation to this agreement.

Drafted

"The agreement has yet to be crafted and drafted and I believe there will be a lot of discussion about that between now and March and I would be surprised if Britain is not part of that.

"This is not a change to the European treaties. What is proposed here is an international agreement and unlike previous situations where you get treaty proposals and the treaty has to be ratified by all 27 member states and if it's not ratified by all 27, it cannot proceed. That isn't what is envisaged here.

"What's envisaged here is an international agreement where countries voluntarily subscribe to it or don't. You're either in or you're out of it."

The summit deal will face its first big test on the money markets this week. Investors will be eager to see whether ratings agency Standard and Poor's downgrades the credit rating of some EU states this week.

Last week it said it was reviewing the ratings of 15 EU states, including Germany and France.

Irish Independent

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