Business World

Saturday 24 March 2018

Up to 90pc of EU plans to save eurozone can be done without referendum

Taoiseach Enda Kenny arrives at the European Union summit in Brussels. Photo: Reuters
Taoiseach Enda Kenny arrives at the European Union summit in Brussels. Photo: Reuters
Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has revealed up to 90pc of the EU's plans to save the eurozone can be changed under treaties without a referendum.

Mr Kenny will be among 27 European Heads of State at a crunch summit this evening amid fears the continent is teetering on the brink of economic disaster.

There had been hopes the hastily-arranged gathering of leaders in Brussels would agree a deal to secure struggling eurozone members by shoring up banks and ramping up the €440bn in emergency funds.

But the prospects for decisive action appeared to be receding last night.

Mr Kenny told the Dail parliament that opening the gate to major treaty change would take time without a guaranteed outcome and stressed there is a possibility of limited treaty change.

"I'm saying the crisis is now and the flexibility exists within the existing instruments to deal with this crisis now and of the discussions that I heard on Sunday and that I participated in 90pc of that can be dealt with without any treaty change," the Taoiseach said.

The Irish Government will be advised by the Attorney General if eurozone reforms need to be implemented through a referendum.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams accused the Taoiseach of agreeing a treaty change during an EU summit on Sunday after previously ruling it out.

"You're involved in negotiating a 50pc to 60pc write down in Greek debt yet you refuse to make the case for reductions in banking debt in Ireland," added Mr Adams.

"You lament the lack of money here for job creation for Irish people, yet you're prepared to pay millions to unguaranteed bond holders in Anglo Irish Bank."

Mr Kenny said agreements made by the EU leaders on Sunday would allow the eurozone to look at how governments do their business.

"There will be a report back in December about the possibility of limited treaty change, and I stress that, limited change," he added.

"I've made my view perfectly clear about this. We have to deal with this current crisis now.

"This country is heading in the right direction and we do not want to lose any assistance or encouragement from our European colleagues to continue on the path of confidence and get out of this mess.

"And from that point of view we deal with it immediately and I hope that discussions this evening will have arrived at a point where decisions can actually be made about the leaders of the eurozone."

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