Monday 5 December 2016

James Fitzsimons: Just when we needed it the most, the EU let us down

The barriers that prevent the formation of a United States of Europe were never more evident, writes James Fitzsimons

James Fitzsimons

Published 29/01/2012 | 05:00

Aconfederation of sovereign states exists in the EU, but not for long. The Germans demand that the rest relinquish their fiscal autonomy to avoid bankruptcy. A central administration will make sure the financial crisis never happens again.

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It wouldn't take much for the financial markets to let Ireland back in. We have learned from our mistakes and are taking the medicine. Our paymasters should cut us some slack, but they are afraid of the signal it would send to other countries whose recovery is still in doubt. The EU is providing a financial system on which we depend. But it is still not stable.

We are dealing with financial events of such magnitude that no one could expect to be insulated from the fallout. The bondholders and the banks have been paid back. There will be no default, but we need a reduction in our debts. Repayments should be deferred. It's up to the EU now. The IMF supports common sense in these matters. Whether the EU has adopted a British stiff upper lip posture, or the code of the Samurai, we will be ruined if we maintain these lofty ideals when Ireland is broke.

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