France’s new administration is set to cause a major headache for the Irish government. Not only have the announced a 30% pay cut to the salary of their head of state and ministers, but they are insisting that the Fiscal Compact be redrafted to include a “chapter” on growth and growth strategy. This morning, the new French finance minister, Pierre Moscovici said the new French government would not ratify the existing Fiscal Compact. Of course the German position seems to remain a stubborn resistance to any change to the Fiscal Compact but you would have to say there is a good chance of some Entente between the two countries. Where will that leave Ireland?
We have a referendum on 31st May 2012 where we are being asked to vote “yes” or “no” to the following being inserted into our Constitution
“The State may ratify the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union done at Brussels on the 2nd day of March 2012. No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of the State under that Treaty or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by bodies competent under that Treaty from having the force of law in the State.”
So if the Treaty “done at Brussels on the 2nd day of March 2012” is modified in any way, then we need have another referendum, it would seem. So wouldn’t the smart move be to defer the referendum until the current negotiations between France and Germany are concluded? Indeed given the turmoil in Greece and Spain, might it not be sensible to defer the referendum anyway? Apparently we can’t according to the Referendum Commissioner, unless the Government calls a general election, which is not likely!
This morning in the Dail, Independent TD Shane Ross attempted to attract support for an emergency Bill which would allow the Government to defer the referendum but his suggestions were flatly rejected by the Government. Somehow, this looks probable that the Government will be left with egg on its face…
As for the announcement of 30% reductions in the salary of the French president and ministers, that should mean the French presidential salary falls from €253,000 to €177,000 and the French ministerial salary falls from €170,400 to €119,280 . By comparison, our own Taoiseach Enda Kenny earns €200,000 and ministers earn €169,275. The following is a table of world leaders salaries examined in more detail here.
UPDATE: 18th May, 2012. With the meeting of the G8 group of countries in Camp David today, here’s a table of the salaries of the heads of the traditionally most economically advanced countries in the world. It should be said that the Italian technocrat prime minister has waived his salary. Enda Kenny earns €200,000 a year and President Michael Higgins earns €310,000 a year though it is believed he has committed to accepting the reduced €250,000 a year accepted by his predecessor, Mary McAleese.