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EU Treaty Our Opportunity To Play Hardball

Posted on: November 16th, 2007 1 Comment

It would be appropriate for a national dialogue on the new EU treaty to begin at an early stage. There exists a widespread assumption that all parties and persons are in favour of passing the treaty, which may or may not be true. However, the EU is not treating Ireland very well at present. Some member states are continually trying to undermine the basis of Ireland’s economic success – our corporation tax rate of 12.5%. So we must use what leverage we have to defend our interests. Here’s what I told the Seanad:

As Ireland is the only nation that will have a referendum on the treaty, we will have a hold over the EU during the referendum campaign. We are in a pivotal position in the European context because we are holding a referendum.

Everybody in this House knows that the economic success of this country is being threatened by EU leaders, including the leaders of some of the big nations of Europe, who would like to remove the 12.5% rate. It is not satisfactory to say simply that the veto will do the trick, because they will go ahead without us.

When the Taoiseach comes to the House, perhaps we can ask him to send an early warning to the EU not to take Ireland for granted. If the EU wants to play hardball or dirty tricks with us, we can make it clear that we are prepared to defeat the treaty.