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Cowen needs to step up at EU summit

28 October, 2010

Speaking ahead of tonight’s EU leaders’ summit Mary Lou McDonald has criticised Taoiseach Brian Cowen for agreeing to the Commission’s budget deficit reduction deadline of 2014 noting.

Ms McDonald said, “Europe’s insistence that Ireland reduce its deficit from 32% to 3% in just four years is bonkers. Germany and France broke the Stability and Growth Pact during the boom years so how on earth can political leaders or institutions credibly expect any member state to deliver such a mammoth fiscal correction in the current crisis.

“Fine Gael and Labour’s support of the 2014 deadline yet again illustrates the cosy consensus of self-interest that has emerged amongst the political establishment. Agreeing to a deadline you accept cannot be met is also of course deeply dishonest.”

The Sinn Féin Vice President said: “As always the devil is in the detail and what lies behind the 2014 deadline is deeply worrying. It appears that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is now structuring EU member states fiscal policies. Top of tonight’s agenda will be a call from the German’s to change existing EU treaties to make permanent a financial crisis mechanism for euro member states. Naturally there is a catch. The German Chancellor, with the support of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, wants the voting rights of any member state to be suspended if they breach EU budget rules.

“Sinn Féin will next week publish its budget 2011 proposals within which we set out an honest and realistic timeline to reduce the budget deficit by 2016. The 2014 deadline may suit Berlin’s balance sheet but surely even the EU Apparatchik’s must realise that any correction that stifles growth will deepen Ireland’s crisis.

“Also up for discussion will be the EU Commission’s ‘Single Market Act’ unveiled this week. It contains 50 or so proposals, including the Commission’s Directive for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) across the EU. The government with the support of Fine Gael and Labour has already surrendered any hope of growth in the Irish economy by agreeing to the EU’s 2014 deadline so how can we have any confidence that any of the three main political parties will not do the same when the EU finally enforces it’s plan to enforce a CCCTB on member states?” ENDS

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