One of the problems the Yes camp will have to contend with is the shifting sands in Europe (see Arthur Beesley for the latest political collapse in the Netherlands, far from the feckless PIGS…) And indeed the front page of today’s Irish Times carries a story on the leading contender for the French Presidency, Francois Hollande, and his reference to the capacity of Ireland to say No in the up coming referendum:
“There will be a renegotiation,” Mr Hollande said. “Will the treaty be changed? I hope so. Or another treaty arranged? That is up for negotiation. But the treaty, as is, will not be ratified.” Mr Hollande noted that three countries had already ratified the pact, but added: “We don’t know the result of the [Irish] referendum. And you know, at times Ireland has been capable of saying No.”
Francois Hollande may have an ally in Mario Draghi, the head of theEuropean Central Bank. In the impenetrable language so often loved by central bankers he said that austerity was “starting to reverberate its contractionary effects”. In other words, spending cuts and higher taxes are starting to shrink the real economies.
Mr Hollande is committed to balancing the French budget by 2017. He is not intending to renegotiate the fiscal pact itself. After all it would be difficult for the Irish to vote on it at the end of May if it was being re-written. What he wants is for a growth pact to form part of a wider package. Mario Draghi has also backed that. [Emphasis added]