Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the left in Ireland and across the EU to develop a visible campaign for the rejection of the Fiscal Compact this year, in anticipation of the scheduled Council vote on whether or not to incorporate the Fiscal Compact into the EU Treaty at the end of this year.
Speaking in a debate on the Economic and Monetary Union in Strasbourg hosted by the European United Left (GUE/NGL), Carthy said:
“In my view Brexit poses not only risks but opportunities when it comes to creating impetus for fundamental change in macroeconomic governance and policy in the EU.
“We’re starting to see some cracks in the pro-austerity position of the EU elite since the Brexit vote, in addition to the broader soul-searching going on among social democrats and conservatives.
“We had the statement from the Commission last November urging a ‘positive euro area fiscal stance’ and the unusual back-down, to a certain extent, on sanctions on Portugal and Spain over excessive deficits.
“We’ve also seen important shifts in the once-unshakeable ideology of the elite in Europe and internationally, with organisations such as the IMF, for example, questioning neoliberalism.”
Carthy, a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, continued: “The Fiscal Compact, which tightened the straitjacket of the Stability and Growth Pact in 2011, has been an unmitigated disaster.
“In the Irish state it poses a major obstacle to an effective resolution to deep crises in housing, homelessness and health – in addition, of course, to the utter lack of political will to resolve these problems on the government’s side.
“At the end of this year the Council will have to vote on whether or not to incorporate the Fiscal Compact into the EU Treaty or not. The vote has to be unanimous.
“As a very minimal demand, the left should lead a campaign against the Fiscal Compact being made permanent and incorporated into the Treaty. A rejection by one or more states would have a significant political impact in promoting the debate about the dead-end of austerity and developing an alternative macroeconomic framework.
“In my view this should be a key demand and campaign of the left this year, in Ireland and across the EU. I will be taking initiatives to promote and develop such a campaign in Ireland in the coming period.”