Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesman Michael McGrath TD has said he would be closely examining the proposals announced by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel following today’s meeting between the two leaders.
Giving an initial response to the outcome of today’s meeting, Deputy McGrath stated, ‘While I welcome the commitment of the French and German leaders to defend the euro currency, my initial reaction is that a number of the measures announced today are a cause for concern for Ireland.
‘The emphasis placed by the German and French leaders during today’s press conference on the issue of corporation tax rate and base harmonisation is deeply worrying, particularly given that the Irish Government committed at July’s Eurozone summit to engaging ‘constructively’ on the issue of CCTB. There seems to be a determination at European level to impose corporation tax harmonisation by one mechanism or another and this is something the Irish Government needs to resist by every means possible.
‘I am deeply sceptical about the suggestion of another European referendum next year to impose constitutionally-binding deficit ceilings. The current and previous Government have signed-up to the introduction of a Fiscal Responsibility Bill and I am not at all convinced of the need for a referendum on this issue.
‘In addition, talk of a Eurozone economic government will not resonate well with Irish people. While the need for tighter fiscal rules across Eurozone countries is accepted, there can be no suggestion that Ireland will permanently lose sovereignty over our domestic budgetary process.
‘There seemed little willingness at today’s meeting to revisit the size of the Eurozone bailout fund or to examine the issue of Eurobonds in a meaningful way. The early indications after the meeting are that the markets remain unimpressed by Europe’s ad hoc, piecemeal efforts to take charge of the debt crisis.
‘We now need a clear statement from the Irish Government that it remains opposed to corporation tax harmonisation, whether it supports the suggestion of a Eurozone economic government and what its view is of holding a referendum to impose deficit ceilings in our constitution.’