Thursday 27 October 2016

Austerity asks the impossible of EU workers, says President

David Raleigh

Published 25/04/2016 | 02:30

Michael D Higgins. Photo: Mark Doyle
Michael D Higgins. Photo: Mark Doyle

President Michael D Higgins has criticised the austerity programmes placed on EU states as "asking the impossible" of ordinary working Europeans.

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Speaking to the Irish Independent after addressing the Irish League of Credit Unions annual conference in Limerick at the weekend, Mr Higgins also said banks could learn from the credit union ethos of "providing credit with dignity to the most vulnerable".

Highlighting the austerity measures "imposed" on Greece, Mr Higgins said: "You can't have such an imposition on a people, as would take them 200 years to come out of the darkness."

He described the austerity measures imposed on Ireland and other EU members states as "like the idea in the old days ... how you never knew how much you owed the shopkeeper, because (the debt) was at the back of the long book".

"There are times in global economics, and times in global credit systems, when you have to realise what you're asking is impossible," said Mr Higgins.

He added Europe should see the people as its "principle consideration" when looking at austerity policies.

Irish Independent

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