EU Parliament head welcomes 'important signal of Ireland’s commitment to the eurozone'01/06/2012 - 16:25:57
The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz has welcomed the outcome of the Fiscal Treaty referendum here.
He said: ``This is an important day for Ireland and for the European Union. The Yes vote sends an important signal of Ireland’s commitment to the eurozone and to the EU more broadly. The vote clearly states that Ireland’s future is at the heart of the eurozone.
“But we must also listen to the concerns of those who voted No.”
Mr Schulz said the fiscal pact was one element in the global strategy for the eurozone.
“Clear rules bring stability, but they must be accompanied by significant growth measures," he said. "I am delighted that the focus in the EU is now moving to the vital issue of how to create jobs and sustainable growth. Fiscal discipline alone, although necessary, will not suffice to bring much needed economic growth to the EU.
“The Irish people and authorities have shown extraordinary capacity to deal with the difficult circumstances of the economic crisis and have done so in a competent manner. They have had to endure a number of very tough years and they still have some difficult budgets ahead. They need to have some cause for hope for the future.”
Fianna Fáil MEP Pat Gallagher said: “The treaty (fiscal pact) will ensure that Ireland has access to the European Stability Mechanism (emergency bailout money), if required.
“This brings a degree of certainty to our public finances as the Irish State will be able to apply for assistance, at sustainable interest rates if needed.
“The ESM is an important safety net for Ireland and the eurozone. I have consistently maintained during the referendum campaign that stability and growth are two sides of the same coin, and the housekeeping rules contained in the pact can help to pave the way for future growth by ensuring a positive climate, conducive for investment and job creation.”
Centre-right leader in the European Parliament Wilfried Martens said the vote marked a significant boost to the recovery process of the Irish economy.
“The pact will strengthen Europe’s economy and will help to combat the excessive levels of public debt. It is key to create a stable and predictable environment that will stimulate economic growth and will play a crucial role in building a viable and secure economic union that will lead to growth and jobs creation for Ireland and for the EU as whole.”
Mr Martens congratulated Taoiseach Enda Kenny on an “impressive” campaign in defence of “the European Union project and its values”.
Socialist group leader Hannes Swoboda said: “The Irish people have taken their responsibilities towards Europe seriously while under strong pressure from the markets.”
But he warned that the pact to control debt and deficit levels now needed a matching growth plan.
“While the eurozone is facing recession and a record level of unemployment, we need investment to boost job creation across Europe,” he said.
“In our view, austerity has led the EU on the wrong path and we expect European leaders during their June summit to change the direction of Europe towards more growth and employment.”
Leader of Fine Gael’s MEPs Gay Mitchell agreed, saying: “Ireland continues to implement difficult economic decisions to bring the public finances under control. The growth agenda must now take centre stage across the EU.”
He went on: “The Irish people have shown great judgment and responsibility, and where member states show such responsibility, the EU should reciprocate with solidarity.”
Liberal leader in the European Parliament and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt said: “The Irish people have made concerted efforts to return to fiscal rectitude but they also need to be reassured that this endorsement (of the fiscal pact) will lead to growth.
“Voting Yes in this referendum was the right way forward and Ireland will see the benefits once the full effects of the corrective provisions (of the pact) come into play.”
Liberal Democrat MEP Graham Watson, said: “I am glad to see that the Irish have decided to opt for economic responsibility.
“Although the fiscal compact is by no means perfect, it is in no way like Spielberg’s Jaws nor like the Simpsons’ arch-capitalist Monty Burns, as the No campaign tried to portray it.”
He went on: “I applaud Fianna Fáil for its success in convincing Irish citizens of the need to vote Yes. Although the fiscal pact does not depend on an Irish Yes, an Irish opt-out would certainly have been a setback.
“Fianna Fáil has put the national interest before short-term political gain and thrown its weight behind economic responsibility.”
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