Friday 24 November 2017

Changes to treaty will be clarified a week before vote

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny will only know the fate of any proposals to change the EU fiscal treaty a week before the referendum takes place.

He will join EU leaders in Brussels in a fortnight for a special meeting to discuss plans for growth and investment.

But the meeting is also expected to clear up any remaining confusion over France's position on the treaty.

Newly elected French President Francois Hollande will get his chance to make his pitch on his views on the treaty.

Mr Hollande claimed during his election campaign that he wanted it changed and said he would not ratify it if there was no stimulus package attached.

But the Government is satisfied he has clarified his position and he is not seeking to amend the text of the treaty itself.

The short meeting will tease out what measures EU leaders have in mind and these will then be put to a full-scale EU summit in June.

Mr Kenny is insisting that the referendum will go ahead at the end of the month and that the result of the French presidential election won't change the treaty.

The Taoiseach hopes to speak to Mr Hollande later this week and has already congratulated him. He said he would support Mr Hollande's call for additional stimulus measures.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said that following the election results in France, Greece, Italy, Britain and Germany -- which he described as "anti-austerity" -- the referendum gave Ireland "an opportunity to demand change".

"A resounding No vote on May 31 will strengthen the hand of all those, here and across Europe, who oppose austerity," he added.

Irish Independent

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