Taoiseach signs EU fiscal compact treaty

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has today signed the EU fiscal compact in Brussels.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has today signed the EU fiscal compact in Brussels.

In all, 25 EU leaders have signed the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union, which imposes strict budget rules on all member states in a bid to shore up the Euro currency.

However, it cannot formally come into effect in Ireland until a referendum is held.

Mr Kenny said the question to be put before the people in the referendum will be simply are we in or out of the eurozone.

The Taoiseach said he believes the Irish people will say yes.

"The people will essentially focus on the answer to the question that they must give - do I want to be part of the European Union eurozone?

"Do I want to keep the euro in the time ahead?

"When I look at the opportunities that lie ahead here, taking all of these things into account, it's my view that they will give a very strong endorsement for a yes vote."

European Council President Jose Manuel Barroso said the summit in Brussels was "without drama or crisis".

He said the treaty signed today will help to stabilise the euro.

"Allow me to congratulate the Heads of State or Government who are signing the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union," he said.

"The Commission warmly welcomes the fact that the agreement remains open to all, as well as the treaty commitment to incorporate its substance into EU primary law within five years at the latest."

"The Commission will prioritise the preparation of secondary legislation on those elements of the Treaty for which this is appropriate. This is in line with our major advances in terms of economic governance over recent months, namely the six-pack of legislative measures.

"The Treaty is an important part in our global strategy to restore stability in European public finances. As we have said before, stability is a prerequisite of confidence, and confidence is indispensable to sustainable growth."

"In the eyes of the world, what is at stake is the very credibility of the euro area and of Europe as a whole: its ability to deliver sustainable fiscal consolidation, growth and employment.

"The euro is not just a currency of some countries, the euro is the currency of the European Union.

"Through their formal commitment at the Treaty level to increase discipline and convergence, the Member States are showing that from monetary union we are now progressing towards a true economic union."

"Contrary to all the negative prophesies about the future of the euro, and even of the European Union, this agreement with its binding rules in terms of reinforced governance signals the irreversibility of the euro and a very important step forward in European integration."

"This Treaty represents the very culture of financial stability that is a prerequisite for true a economic union."

"I am convinced that the Member States and the EU institutions are now in a much better position to complement these indispensable efforts on fiscal responsibility with further reforms for competitiveness and increased solidarity."

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