‘Yes’ vote by far the less risky course

Dublin South TD Alex White welcomed Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore to Rathfarnham today, 12 May 2012, for the launch of Labour’s Treaty campaign in Dublin South.

Speaking at the launch, White said: “Political leaders were slow to act when the Eurozone crisis erupted in 2008. Flaws and contradiction were exposed at the heart of the Euro currency project. A start was made last year when agreement was reached on changes to economic governance in the Eurozone. This was followed in March of this year by agreement on the Stability Treaty

“These are the first steps - only the first steps - towards resolving the worst crisis in Europe since the Second World War. It may be said that these measures are as yet partial and incomplete. Also, that they concentrate too much on austerity, and not enough on growth. These are legitimate arguments to make. But they do not point to a ‘no’ vote; on the contrary.

“There are serious imbalances within the Eurozone. These have led to manifest injustices and understandable resentment in many countries, including Ireland, where the citizens have been saddled with the debts of a failed banking system. Ensuring that this is never repeated requires real and substantive change - change that entails a lot more than fiscal rules, necessary as they are.

“Voting ‘yes’ on 31 May will be a first step towards achieving the kind of change that’s needed. It will be an expression of solidarity with other countries in stabilising our common currency, and in preparing the ground for a genuine growth strategy. There can be no doubt that the election of Francois Hollande as President of France has changed the conversation about growth. We in Labour share the social democratic vision of President Hollande. He has already shifted the terms of the debate about Europe’s future. Ireland has much to gain from this development.

“Voting ‘yes’ on 31 May will ensure that we are part of the new emerging consensus on growth. And it will strengthen our negotiating position in the on-going effort to have our legacy debt re-structured.

“It will be a statement of solidarity with our partners, and of commitment to following basic fiscal rules - rules which are already in force, but which the Treaty now requires to be put into each country’s own law.

“At a time of uncertainty, a ‘yes’ vote is by far the less risky course. It offers a guarantee of cheap funding should we continue to require it, while the new rules will not even begin apply to us until after we exit from the programme of assistance.

“When you weigh up the ‘pros and cons’ it is abundantly clear that our best interests will be served by a ‘yes’ vote on 31 May.

“It won’t be the end of the crisis; but it can be the beginning of the end.”