27/02/2012

Survey Shows Strong Support For EU Fiscal Treaty

A new survey of CEOs by IBEC, the group that represents Irish business, has revealed very strong support for the recently agreed EU fiscal treaty and a firm belief that Ireland's membership of the single currency is vital to future economic prosperity.

The survey of almost 300 CEOs, which was carried out in February 2012, highlights the long-term commitment that Irish business has to the European project and the eurozone.

The key findings are as follows:

•88% of respondents regard Ireland's membership of the eurozone as important for the future prosperity of their business, with 59% of respondents regarding membership as "very" important.

•73% of respondents stated that Ireland's ratification of new EU fiscal treaty was important to the future prosperity of their business, with 38% of respondents stating that its ratification was "very important". Only 13% regarded ratification as unimportant.

•53% of respondents stated that their attitude towards the EU and its institutions had either stayed the same (48%) or improved (5%) since the onset of the economic crisis. 45% of respondents said they had a more negative attitude.

IBEC Director of Policy Brendan Butler said: "Despite tough economic times, Irish business remains very supportive of Ireland's place and role in the eurozone. This view is also reflected in the overwhelming support for ratification of the new fiscal treaty. Both Ireland and the EU continue to face serious economic challenges, but the view of business is that we need to overcome these challenges together and by agreement.

"While it is clear that business sees Ireland and Europe's future prosperity intrinsically linked, the capacity of Europe to deal effectively with the economic crisis has undoubtedly been under strain in recent times. This has unsurprisingly led to some increased negativity towards the EU and its institutions. The fact that the survey was carried out in the middle of great uncertainty about Greece's future in the euro and in advance of the recent Greek debt deal may also have had an impact on the figures.

"Ireland's economic links to Europe remain central to our economic recovery. The scale of our trade with the EU is very significant accounting for 60% of total exports and €100 billion in value. As a small open economy that exports over 80% of everything we produce, access to the 500 million potential customers in the EU is of major significance to Irish business."

(CD/GK)

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