Opinion Letters

Monday 16 December 2019

Use Lisbon to extend crazy 2014 deadline

THE arbitrary date of a 2014 compliance deadline with the EU's Stability and Growth Pact will irreparably damage our small, open economy, leading to the ESRI's prediction of a 'lost decade' for Ireland.

Three weeks ago in the European Parliament, I challenged EU Internal Market Commissioner Barnier about the 'mindless austerity' being imposed on Ireland with dire consequences for our economic future, and the absolute requirement of an extension beyond 2014.

The initial decision by the European Council was taken at a time of crisis, when it was necessary to ensure the future stability of the euro, and there was a well-founded fear of contagion. We are now past that point and in this period of relative stability we must reassess the situation. Brian Lenihan claimed an extension of the deadline was not feasible. However, this ignores the fact that he has a key weapon at his disposal -- the Lisbon Treaty.

According to Article 9: "In defining and implementing its policies and activities, the Union shall take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion, and a high level of education, training and protection of human health."

Ireland can make a compelling case that the social cost of the 2014 deadline is in breach of the Lisbon Treaty's spirit. Just as Irish people said No and then Yes to Lisbon following the emergence of new facts, so too must the council now live up to its commitments under the treaty.

As a sovereign state, our first duty is to our citizens and their welfare and the Stability and Growth Pact 2014 deadline cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to override that. We can, and will, live up to both responsibilities, but we need an extended timeframe.

Marian Harkin MEP

Dublin 14

WHERE has the ESRI been hiding? Even the dogs in the street would know that taking money out of people's pockets will lead to less being spent in the economy, more business closures and more people on the dole.

The Budget is going to decimate Ireland and will only serve to placate the EU.

Catherine Dolan

tralee, Co Kerry

Irish Independent

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