Anthony Coughlan reports: "The Irish Supreme Court’s failure to injunct the Republic of Ireland in Thomas Pringle's constitutional challenge and the State’s insistence on ratifying the ESM Treaty immediately is of course disappointing. But the game is not over yet. The judges in the ECJ are going to have difficulty with the three questions that have been sent to them. The ECJ has never been confronted with this sort of challenge before and it will be interesting to see how they meet it. If the ESM is allowed to proceed with its present legal structure – it does not bode well for either the ECJ or the Commission in the future. So it will be interesting to see how the judges on the ECJ respond now that they have this opportunity to adjudicate on the relation between the existing EU Treaties and the embryonic "Federation for the Eurozone, Confederation for the rest of the EU" which French President NIcolas Sarkozy spoke of last November and which the political-legal pathway towards is the ESM Treaty for the Eurozone."
SUMMARY OF THE RULING:
1) The Irish Supreme Court did not find Ireland's proposed ratification of the European Stability Mechanism(ESM) Treaty to be unconstitutional, such that a referendum to amend the Irish Constitution would be required to permit its ratification;
2) The Court declined to injunct the Irish State from ratifying the ESM Treaty. The Irish Government stated this evening that it will ratify the ESM Treaty on tomorrow, 1 August. It will not wait until the EU Court of Justice determines the issues which the Irish Supreme Court is referring to it.
3) The Court referred three issues to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for a determination, with the agreement of both sides in the case.
The references to the ECJ relate to:
(a) whether the European Council Decision of 25 March 2011 to amend Article 136 TFEU of the EU Treaties relating to the establishment of a permanent Stability Mechanism for the Eurozone is valid. This relates to the use of the "simplified" treaty amendment procedure as against the "ordinary" amendment procedure in making this amendment to the EU Treaties, as well as to the content of the proposed amendment;
(b) Whether a Eurozone Member State is entitled to enter into and ratify an international agreement such as the ESM Treaty in the light of various provisions of the existing EU Treaties; and
(c) If the European Council Decision is held to be valid, is the entitlement of a Eurozone State to ratify an agreement such as the ESM Treaty subject to the entry into force of that Decision first. In other words, as the Decision to amend the EU Treaties does not enter into force until January 2013 at the earliest, is it permissible for the Eurozone States to ratify the ESM Treaty and establish the ESM permanent loan/bailout fund before that date?