The Workers Party today publically demanded that the government hold a referendum on the new Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance, more aptly known as the Austerity Treaty.
Speaking at a press conference organised by the Campaign for a Social Europe, Padraig Mannion, Workers Party spokesperson on Europe stated: "we are aware that this government will try every legal and constitutional trick to worm themselves out of the legal necessity to hold a referendum. However this treaty is of such fundamental and long-term significance that it demands the voice of the people be heard and heeded. That is why the Workers Party, and other left and progressive parties within the Campaign for a Social Europe, would ensure that our campaigning through the political process would make it politically impossible for the Government not to hold a referendum"
"The proposed new Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union – in reality an Austerity Treaty – is an undemocratic attempt to institutionalise austerity across Europe. Its 'Fiscal Compact' would deny the right of Member State governments to run a 'structural' budget deficit of more than 0.5%. This would remove the democratic right of national parliaments to decide national budgets, with that power shifting to the unelected European Commission and European Court of Justice. This would be a fundamental transfer of power away from elected governments. We demand a referendum on any such proposition; and we call for a 'No' vote in that referendum".
"The proposed Austerity Treaty is a means to compel governments to reduce public spending so as to pay public debt. But public debt has grown because governments have socialised bank and speculator debt, and because banks have been given billions of Euro to stop them collapsing or because the rich paid little or no tax – not because of excessive spending on public services. Yet the banks and financial markets now insist that governments must become more “credit-worthy”: spending cuts are demanded - to ensure that the state can pay debts that were taken on to bail out the banks in the first place".
Padraig Mannion added: "The proposed Austerity Treaty will not revive the economy or reduce unemployment. It would result in a Europe where millions are out of work for years; where welfare and other benefits are driven down; where education, health and other essential services are cut. It would exacerbate the differences between rich and poor, and between the wealthy core and indebted peripheral countries - shifting the burden of the crisis onto ordinary people".
In conclusion Mr. Mannion stated: "The decision on the Austerity Treaty is about the kind of Europe we want: a Europe for the millions or for the millionaires. The real issue in a referendum will not be the euro or membership of the EU. It will be a choice between accepting an EU Austerity Union, with protection for the wealthy and poverty for ordinary people; or struggling with others across Europe for a People’s Europe, where the priorities are democracy and equality, full employment, social protection and sustainable development."