EU giants get Irish warning shot

Kevin Doyle

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has warned French and German leaders to expect a battle if they think they can "call the shots" in Europe.

He insisted Taoiseach Enda Kenny would need to stick to Ireland's agenda in negotiations aimed at ending the eurozone debt crisis.

He was reacting to proposals from Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy to strengthen the governance of the eurozone.

The duo wants to create a new eurozone "economic government" that would meet twice a year.

"They (Merkel and Sarkozy) have to be told in no uncertain terms that this is a European problem and it has to be solved at a European level," Mr Quinn said. He added: "The 'old firm' of the Franco-German alliance is no longer calling the shots exclusively."


European Commission has welcomed the Sarkozy-Merkel proposals, but it is likely to spark significant debates among member states.

EC president Jose Manuel Barroso and Economic Commissioner Olli Rehn agreed that the economic difficulties in the eurozone show the need for closer co-ordination of economic policy. But US business leaders have claimed the plan by the European superpowers to tighten their grip over smaller countries could cost 100,000 jobs.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland warned yesterday that any increase in our 12.5pc corporation tax "would severely hinder our ability to retain and grow foreign direct investment".

Markets appear unsure how to react to the proposals with EU stocks fluctuating greatly.