CONGRESS URGES GOVT. TO BACK HOLLANDE 'GROWTH PLAN' AND DELAY RATIFICATION OF FISCAL COMPACT
11 May 2012
Congress General Secretary David Begg said today (May 11) that Government could delay ratification of the Fiscal Compact Treaty - if passed - and urged them to stand "four square behind (Francois) Hollande" to ensure there is a new growth strategy for Europe.
In an address to the Communications Workers' Union (CWU) conference in Galway today, Mr Begg said elections in Greece and the victory of Francois Hollande in France meant "the tectonic plates have shifted again" in Europe.
Mr Begg said the election of Mr Hollande had broken the 'group think' that had gripped the European establishment in recent years and said they now had "a stark choice: persist with a singular policy of dogmatic austerity and bring the house down, or start buying into some of our solutions."
In that context, Mr Begg said, Government should consider delaying ratification of the Treaty, if passed on May 31, as there is no requirement to ratify until December 2012.
"If they feel unable, for whatever reason, to defer the referendum then I suggest they consider giving people an assurance that they will not ratify the Treaty until they have to, at the end of this year.
"In the meantime they should stand four square behind (Francois) Hollande and assist him in every way possible to achieve his stated objective of a growth strategy.
Mr Begg said this strategy "could give us some influence on our destiny rather than being passive objects of experimentation by neoliberal ideologues. It would put us in the vanguard of the drive for growth while not isolating ourselves from the European mainstream."
He said Europe needed its own 'New Deal' in the form of a "massive growth stimulus and a means of dealing with public and private debt."
He pointed out that unions in Ireland had championed a growth and stimulus plan that could see major investment in key infrastructure projects at no cost to the taxpayer, through incentivising the use of private pension funds. He urged the Government to make 'growth and investment' the theme of the Ireland's EU Presidency, in 2013.
"Ireland has been a poster child of globalisation and, more recently, a poster child for austerity. Let us seize the opportunity to be a beacon of something good for a change," Mr Begg said.