‘People must be given chance to express their views on new European treaties’

9 December 2011

‘People must be given chance to express their views on new European treaties’

The Dutch people must be given the chance to express their views on the new European treaty between the seventeen Eurozone countries as well as the European Stability Mechanism treaty establishing a permanent emergency fund, argues SP Member of Parliament Ewout Irrgang. As a consequence of the new treaties the Netherlands’ control over its own budget will be strongly restricted and the Dutch government will lose its veto powers over the permanent emergency fund.

Ewout IrrgangIn the new treaty for the seventeen Eurozone countries the signatories commit themselves to adding to their constitutions a clause guaranteeing that the state budget will always be in surplus or at least balanced. This goes much further than the maximum 3% deficit stipulated in the Stability Pact, the exceeding of which triggers automatic penalties. “Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated this week in the debate that no new powers would be handed over but that is nonsense. The European heads of government are continually taking decisions which increase Brussels’ power and exclude their own people. The Dutch people must be given the chance to express their views on these far-reaching restrictions on their nation’s control over its own budget and the giving up of vetoes in regard to the permanent emergency fund. I call on the Labour Party to withdraw its support from Rutte’s European policy if no referendum or new election is to be held, in order that the Dutch electorate can finally have its say.” Yesterday, however, the PvdA (Labour Party) voted against a motion from the SP to allow the people to express their views on the future of Europe.

According to the SP Member of Parliament the new treaty for the Eurozone does not represent any kind of solution for the ongoing eurocrisis. “A new treaty will take years while the eurocrisis must be resolved right now. The cause of the eurocrisis lay, moreover, not in state budgets which had gone off the rails; on the contrary, these were its consequences. The real cause of the eurocrisis was the banking crisis coupled with the fundamental problem attendant on having a single currency for such economically disparate countries. For a solution to the eurocrisis what is needed first and foremost is economic growth to make the debt tolerable. But where is this growth going to come from if the Netherlands and Germany are imposing ever more austerity and the ECB is not prepared to lower interest rates aggressively and increase the money supply? This treaty is a massive vi9ctory for Germany but not for Europe.”

Irrgang refuses to cry crocodile tears over the fact that, increasingly, a two-speed Europe is being created. “A two-speed Europe has long been a fact, with a common currency which ten EU member states don’t use. Furthermore there were already exceptions in relation to some treaty stipulations – the so-called ‘opt-outs’. Certainly British Prime Minister David Cameron’s attitude is reprehensible in that using pure blackmail he tried to win commitments for British banks in exchange for a broader treaty, despite the fact that this crisis began with an unregulated banking sector. It’s good that the European heads of government didn’t give in to Cameron’s blackmail.”

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