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Government can still veto bailout fund Blackmail Clause – Doherty

18 March, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD


Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said that the Government “still has a veto on the blackmail clause and could use this veto to have the clause removed from the European Stability Mechanism Treaty.”
Deputy Doherty was speaking following the publishing of a Dáil motion on the issue which will be debated this week.
Deputy Doherty said:

“The Government is telling people that if we reject the Austerity Treaty we will not be able to access emergency funding from the European Stability Mechanism in the future.

“What the Government is not telling people is that they willingly agreed to the inclusion of this blackmail clause in the Treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) earlier this year.

“Neither the ESM Treaty nor the amendment to the European Treaties on which it is based have yet been ratified and could still be changed.

“In fact the Government has an effective veto over the ESM Treaty, by virtue of having a veto over the amendment to Article 136 of the European Treaties.

“Sinn Féin has tabled a private members motion on this issue for debate in the Dáil next week. The motion outlines the history of this controversial blackmail clause and the Government’s support for it.

“The motion also calls on the Government to confirm that it will not ratify the ESM Treaty or the amendment to Article 136 of the EU Treaties until after the people have voted on the Austerity Treaty in the referendum. It also calls on the Government, in the event of the rejection of the Austerity Treaty by the people, to seek a further amendment to the ESM Treaty removing the blackmail clause, and using its veto on this matter if required.

“This would allow the public to debate and decide on the Austerity Treaty on its own merits, free from the blackmail implicit in the threat to deny future bailout funds.”



Full text of the Sinn Féin private members motion on the European Stability Mechanism Blackmail Clause:

That Dáil Éireann
- Notes that on 16 December 2010 the European Council agreed a two line amendment to Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union allowing for the creation of a permanent emergency funding facility to be known as the European Stability Mechanism (ESM)
- Notes that the text of the amendment to Article 136 states clearly that the stability mechanism be “activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole.”
- Notes that on 11 July 2011 the European Council agreed the final text of the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism which when ratified by the 17 signatory states would create a permanent emergency funding vehicle for EU member states known as the ESM
- Notes that Recital (2) of the ESM Treaty incorporates the wording of the new Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union the effect of which is to make the overriding legal and policy mandate of the ESM the safeguarding of the stability of the Euro area as a whole
- Notes that under the terms of the ESM Treaty the ESM would come into operation from July 2012 and would have a total fund of €500 billion of which Ireland would contribute €11 billion
- Notes that neither the Article 136 Amendment to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union nor the ESM Treaty have been ratified by the Irish state
- Notes that the ratification of the Article 136 Amendment will take the form of the European Communities Act (Amendment) Bill, which is due to come before the Oireachtas in this session
- Notes that the ratification of the ESM treaty will take the form of the ESM Bill which is due to come before the Oireachtas in this session
- Notes that in January 2012 the European Council agreed to an amendment to the Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism linking access to ESM funds to ratification of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, more commonly known as the Austerity Treaty
- Notes that making ratification of the Austerity Treaty a condition of eligibility for ESM funds runs contrary to the letter and spirit of the amendment to Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the European Council summit statement of 21 July 2011 which said that the European Council were, “determined to continue to provide support to countries under programmes until they have regained market access, provided they successfully implement those programmes.”
- Notes that the insertion of this controversial amendment into the ESM Treaty is intended to frighten public opinion into supporting the Austerity Treaty in the event of a referendum in any EU Member State
- Notes that the Irish government did not oppose nor seek to prevent in any way the insertion of this controversial amendment into the ESM Treaty
- Notes that while the Irish government did not have a veto on the final text of the ESM Treaty, it did and continues to have a veto over the Article 136 amendment to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and could have used this veto to secure the removal of the controversial amendment from the ESM Treaty
- States that the reason for the Irish governments acquiescence to this controversial amendment was to ensure that, in the event of a referendum in Ireland on the Austerity Treaty, the Government could use this issue to frighten people into supporting a treaty that if assessed on its own merits would not secure popular support
- Calls on the Government to confirm it will not ratify the Article 136 amendment and the ESM Treaty until after the Austerity Treaty referendum and will not bring forward the European Communities Act (Amendment) Bill and the ESM Bill until the people have had their say on the Austerity Treaty
- Calls on the Government to debate the Austerity Treaty on its own merits and to desist from using the controversial clause in the ESM Treaty as a way of securing support for the Austerity Treaty
- Calls on the Government to state publicly that in the event of a rejection of the Austerity Treaty by the people in a referendum, it will seek to remove the controversial clause from the ESM Treaty, and will if necessary use its veto on the Article 136 Amendment to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to secure the removal of the controversial clause

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