Belfast Telegraph

Europe important to business chiefs

Nearly three-quarters of business chiefs think it is important for Ireland to adopt the European fiscal compact, a survey has revealed.

Some 73% said ratifying the treaty was necessary to ensure future growth for business, compared with 13% who claimed it was unimportant.

The survey, conducted by the Irish Business an Employers Confederation (IBEC), also found that 88% of chief executive officers support Ireland's eurozone membership.

IBEC director of policy Brendan Butler said Irish business remains supportive of Ireland's ties with Europe despite the tough economic times.

"The fiscal treaty is an important step towards restoring confidence and ensuring that future economic growth in the EU is put on a sustainable footing. This view is also reflected in the overwhelming support for ratification of the new fiscal treaty." said Mr Butler.

The treaty aims to strengthen economic control from Europe, which will see stricter budgetary rules put in place and penalties for states who fail to uphold them.

Mr Butler said the view is that Ireland and the EU can only overcome their economic challenges together and with agreement.

The survey of almost 300 CEOs was carried out throughout February - nearly two months after European chiefs first drafted the treaty in Brussels, with 25 of the 27 member states agreeing to sign up.

The Irish Attorney General Maire Whelan is currently scrutinising the text of the treaty to determine if a referendum is legally required to give the public a vote on whether Ireland should adopt it. Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed this week that he expects Ms Whelan to return with her decision within two or three weeks.

Opposition TDs have called on the Government to hold a referendum, even if it is not legally required, arguing that giving the public their say would be truly democratic.

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