On Thursday 31 May 2012 a referendum will be held to decide if Ireland may ratify the Treaty on Stability, Cooperation and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (“The Stability Treaty”).
This website is intended to help inform you for what is an important decision for Ireland.
WHY THE STABILITY TREATY?
In recent years, the European Union has experienced an acute economic crisis. The people of Ireland and of all member states have taken big steps at home to respond to this crisis. Many steps have also been taken to address the problem on a Europe-wide level to encourage recovery and to ensure that the mistakes of the past cannot be repeated. This new Treaty is proposed as an important part of this effort.
The EU has already strengthened the economic rules that apply, particularly in the group of countries which use the euro (the “eurozone”). Rescue mechanisms were put in place from which Member States that experience difficulties, such as Ireland, could receive loans when they couldn’t raise money in a normal way. The EU has worked to stabilise Europe’s banks and has refocused its efforts to ensure that economic growth and job creation are its top priorities. Ireland has participated fully in this work.
In December, it was agreed that some of these steps should be reinforced in a new legal text. Because not all Member States of the EU wished to participate, it was agreed to do this through a new Treaty that would sit outside the existing EU Treaties.
Agreement on the Stability Treaty was reached in January 2012. According to the Treaty’s first article, its aim is to “support the achievement of the European Union’s objectives for sustainable growth, employment, competitiveness and social cohesion”. It contributes to these objectives through budgetary rules (intended to ensure good housekeeping in each country) and arrangements for countries using the euro to work closely together and support each other.
WHAT IS IN THE TREATY
The Treaty is relatively short and straightforward compared with other European treaties. It opens with a “preamble” or introductory text that sets the scene for the Treaty’s main provisions. It makes it clear that:
- the Treaty will not change the conditions under which a country, such as Ireland, is currently receiving financial assistance from a European rescue fund. Our agreed Programme with the EU and the IMF will continue to apply until we exit it.
- from 1 March 2013 a country will have to have ratified the Stability Treaty to be able to receive financial assistance from the European Stability Mechanism, the new permanent rescue fund.
There are then 16 Articles which make up the Treaty’s main provisions.Print Friendly Version