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Saturday 20 September 2014

The Germans say it's all Ireland's fault

Tom Lyons

Published 03/03/2013 | 05:00

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Wolfgang Schauble

Wolfgang Schauble, Germany's powerful federal minister for finance, has said it is all Ireland's fault its banks collapsed, plunging the economy into a deep recession, and absolves reckless European bondholders of all blame.

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In a frank interview for a new documentary called State Secrets and Bank Bailouts, Schauble dismisses claims that European bondholders should be made share in the responsibility for unsustainably pumping up Ireland's banking system with billions.

"The cause in Ireland is something Ireland itself created – not Luxembourg, not France, not Germany, but Ireland – and it benefited from it for some time," Schauble claims.

"Then everyone has to bear the consequences of a wrong-headed policy."

In the documentary, presenter Harald Schumann, a former editor of Der Spiegel, asks Schauble to publish a list of the bondholders who cashed in from the German-backed decision by the European Central Bank not to make them bear the cost of banking recklessness but instead to shift this bill on to the citizens of peripheral European states like Ireland.

"Why don't you publish a list of creditors so we can have an informed debate about it?" he asks. Schauble dismisses this view as being "naive."

"[Banks are] very intermingled. And if one bank is not solvent anymore, then it will immediately trigger doubts about the solvency of the next bank because it may have credit at the other," Schauble states.

"Everyone should solve their own problems. If everyone swept in front of their own door, the whole neighbourhood would be clean," the German politician added.

"The Irish were very aware that their banks were less stringently supervised then the German banks," he said.

In this major documentary, independent TD Stephen Donnelly disputes Schauble's views of the Irish crisis, which are widely accepted in Germany.

"The gun was held by the European Central Bank," Donnelly states, "The suspicion is that the European Central Bank said you will continue to pay these bondholders to whom you owe nothing or we will pull the emergency funding out of your banking system. Thereby collapsing your banking system, thereby collapsing your economy. To me, that is gunboat diplomacy."

Irish Independent

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