Irish revival 'at stake' in only EU vote on treaty

May 31, 2012 04:05

DUBLIN - Ireland holds the only popular vote on Europe's new fiscal treaty on Thursday, with opinion polls pointing to a 'Yes' vote that would ease concerns about its funding prospects and save Europe a headache it can do without.

The referendum, Ireland's third on Europe in four years, puts it back in the spotlight after it avoided much of the recent heat from the euro zone's debt crisis by dutifully implementing its 85 billion euro ($106 billion) EU/IMF bailout.

While the German-led plan for stricter budget rules needs the approval of only 12 of the 17 euro zone countries to be ratified, an Irish rejection would undermine one of Europe's key initiatives just as problems mount in Spain and Greece.

The Irish debate has been squarely framed around a clause in the treaty stating that only those who sign up can access future European bailout money.

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