A “Yes” vote to Nice is vital for our prosperity –– Taoiseach
There is a very strong economic case for voting yes to Nice, isnt it time the No side set out the economic case for voting No? the Taoiseach asked today.
If we vote no to Nice, Ireland will, in practice, carry considerably less weight in future discussions of critical importance to our economy, the Taoiseach said today. We have been enormously successful in protecting our interests in key areas like CAP, Structural and Cohesion Funds and Taxation because we were perceived as centrally involved in Europe and able to forge alliances and be listened to on that basis. A no to Nice will dilute that influence at a time when decisions on issues which go right to the heart of our economic well being are looming. These include CAP reform, the next WTO round and the post 2006 EU Budget arrangements.
In this context we should remember that Ireland still receives substantially more from the EU Budget than it pays in the Taoiseach added.
Irelands overall economic policy has been outward looking since the late 1950s. Are we now to turn our backs on the world and return to the days of economic isolation? the Taoiseach asked. Voting yes is a clear signal that we believe in Europes Future. Voting No is a clear signal that we want to withdraw from the European project, said the Taoiseach.
The single currency has facilitated a stable economic regime with interest rates less than half those that prevailed before we joined.
An expanded EU single market will provide significant increased trade, investment and job opportunities in Ireland. Irish exports to the 10 largest of the enlargement countries have grown seven-fold to more than a billion euro since 1994 and should continue to grow strongly into the future. A no vote would put this developing trade and investment relationship in jeopardy and adversely affect Irish jobs.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is vital to the Irish economy. Foreign firms provide some 140,000 jobs directly in Ireland and indirectly support many thousands more. We promote ourselves as the Gateway to Europe. Unhindered access to the European Market is a huge attraction for FDI. A perceived retreat through a no vote from full commitment to the EU single market, and to the expansion of that market by Enlargement, would give a negative signal to foreign investors and would be exploited by our competitors for FDI the Taoiseach added.
Ireland already must compete with our existing EU partners for such investment and does so very successfully. It will be up to us to meet any new challenges that may arise the Taoiseach stated. Given our very successful track record and the continuing upskilling of our work force, we should be able to respond well to any new challenges. Top