Ireland's voters have offered a decisive "yes" in a referendum to the European Union's closely watched deficit-fighting treaty, says an official. Final results declared today for Ireland's referendum gave the pro-treaty side 60.3% of all votes cast, better than most opinion polls during the month-long campaign. The pact needs the approval of 12 nations, but Ireland's vote was seen as an important symbolic one in support of the eurozone.
The treaty's approval should relieve some pressure on EU financial chiefs as they battle to contain the region's debt crisis. But critics said the tougher deficit rules would do nothing to stimulate desperately needed growth in bailed-out Ireland, Portugal, and Greece, nor stop Spain or Italy from requiring aid, too. Public rejection could have blocked Ireland from receiving new EU loans once its 2010 bailout money runs out next year.