Referendum must be held. People should decline invitation to join ‘Austerity Club’
What was agreed at last night’s European Council is a recipe for disaster across Europe. Prescribing a diet of austerity and more austerity into the future is a sure way to deepen the crisis of capitalism across Europe.
The Treaty represents a fundamental attack on democratic rights as it attempts to institutionalise austerity policies within country’s constitutions or laws through the ‘balanced budget’ rule. It thereby denies future governments the right to implement policies other than neo-liberal ones, removing the legal right to engage in policies that are necessary – such as massive programmes of public investment to create jobs.
The fact that this Treaty is not an EU Treaty means that the government propaganda about this being necessary for our membership of the euro or linked to our membership of the EU is simply a lie. We have before us an invitation to join an Austerity Club and commit to neo-liberal policies into the future. We should turn down this invitation and reject the austerity that is failing so disastrously across Europe.
There is a clear political obligation for the government to hold a referendum on this Treaty, which involves a significant transfer of powers over budgetary strategy from the Irish government to the European Commission and Council as well as tying the hands of future governments. Instead of hiding behind the Attorney General, the government should immediately announce its intention to hold a referendum. Massive political pressure needs to be built on the government in the coming days to force them to hold a referendum.
I and the Socialist Party are currently taking legal advice and I am actively considering a court challenge in the event that the government attempts to evade its democratic obligation.