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Differences remain as draft budgetary treaty emerges

EU diplomats will sign off on a final draft of a treaty with tough new budgetary rules today.

The document will then be presented to a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Monday.

But a government advisory group says the Government should not seek to include the proposed new fiscal rules in the Constitution -- effectively advising the Coalition not to hold a referendum to ratify the new treaty.

The Fiscal Advisory Council was set up last year to advise the Government on economic policy. In a review of proposals to strengthen Ireland's budget-making and control systems, the council says fiscal rules should be set in domestic legislation.

Officials will meet today to finalise a draft to go to EU leaders on Monday.

Ireland will be represented at the talks by the Ambassador to the EU Rory Montgomery and a number of senior officials from the Departments of the Taoiseach and Finance.

A number of differences remain between countries that have to be ironed out.

European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton said the Government is hoping it will be possible to complete work on the treaty.

"Throughout, Ireland has prioritised a number of issues, including: the need for Ireland's programme country status to be properly taken into account; the need for an appropriate basis for incorporating a debt brake at national level; the need for a workable application of the 'structural balances' methodology; and the need to ensure that as much of the contents of this new treaty as possible are put on a clear EU legal footing," she said.

"In each case, the draft text of the Intergovernmental Treaty has been moving in the right direction," she added.

Irish Independent