Tuesday 21 November 2017

Enda Kenny takes sideswipe at European leaders for prioritising home politics

Fiach Kelly In Bucharest

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has taken a sideswipe at European leaders who are putting domestic politics ahead of solving the eurozone crisis.

In what could be seen as a dig at German chancellor Angela Merkel, who is facing elections next autumn, Mr Kenny said it is "no time" for leaders to to be thinking mainly of their own countries.

"This is a very difficult time, there is no time for delays because of individual country issues," Mr Kenny said.

"This is something that has to be dealt with."

He was speaking in Bucharest at an economics seminar at a summit of the European People's Party, the centre right group which Fine Gael and Dr Merkel's CDU belong to.

It comes after a number of countries, including Germany, backtracked on the deal reached by European leaders in June, when they agreed to break the link between banking debt and sovereign debt.

Mr Kenny said there are only "weeks and months, not years" to save the Euro and the eurozone, and said he hoped banking supervision for the entire eurozone will be established by January.

The Taoiseach said he did not raise Ireland's bank debt deal in with Dr Merkel at the EPP, but would do so at the EU summit in Brussels tonight.

Earlier, Mr Kenny said he believed there will be no need for changes to European treaties - and a possible referendum - to create a banking supervisor for the entire eurozone.

Mr Kenny was responding to a report in the 'Financial Times' which said plans to create a single eurozone banking supervisor were illegal, according to legal opinion given to finance ministers.

The idea of a eurozone supervisor goes hand in hand with the deal on banking debt which was struck by EU leaders in June. It is aimed at separating banking debt from sovereign debt.

But problems with banking supervision could hold up any deal on bank debt, with some countries, such as Germany and Finland, already trying to backtrack on the agreement.

Mr Kenny said he didn't think treaty change was required.

Any changes could lead to more contentious European referendums in Ireland.

"I don't share the view of the Financial Times that treaty change is required in respect of common supervision or direct recapitalisation," he said.

"The decision taken on the June 29 by the heads of Government of the 27 was very clear.

"My view is that will not require treaty change, but then I'm not a constitutional lawyer."

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