European Union Membership: crucial for attracting investment.The Industrial Development Authority has said that EU membership, and hence unhindered access to the European Market, has attracted almost 1,000 modern foreign companies to Ireland.
Businesses need certainty if they are to plan for the future, and invest further in their operations here. The uncertainty about Ireland’s commitment to the EU’s future that a second No vote would create, would risk affecting those investment decisions.
Lisbon Treaty: setting priorities that will create jobs
1. Research and development: Article 179 says that creating a European ‘research area’ will be a priority for the EU. This is good news for companies and third level institutions where high tech research and innovation create new jobs.
2. Tourism: Article 195 makes enhancing the tourism sector, and improving competitiveness in this area, a priority for the EU.
3. Rural areas: The Treaty reaffirms the EU’s commitment to its regional policy, and closing the development gap between affluent and less well-off regions. In practice, this might mean investment for roads, broadband or childcare businesses, which have already been helped by EU funding.
4. Green energy: Article 194 of the Treaty makes energy a top priority of the EU. This includes the development of renewable energy. Ireland has enormous potential in wind and wave energy, which needs investment, and access to trans-national grids and large markets to be fully exploited. The EU offers all three.
5. Transport, energy and communications: The Treaty states that the EU will invest in trans-European transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructures. An example might be a Europe-wide electricity grid that would allow Ireland to sell clean energy to an EU-wide market of 490m people.
6. Space: The Lisbon Treaty enables the EU to draw up a space policy, which would be a source of high-tech jobs for people from all member states.