Thursday 27 October 2016

EU is a union only by name with each member vulnerable

Published 07/07/2015 | 02:30

Huge challenge ahead: German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Huge challenge ahead: German Chancellor Angela Merkel

The Greek referendum has produced a resounding rejection of the proposed humiliating EU rescue package. It looks as if Greece's exit from the euro is inevitable unless there is substantial financial intervention from the European Central Bank, a proudly independent institution which will have difficulty sustaining that independence.

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When the euphoria subsides we may witness the unedifying spectacle of Greece being engulfed in a wave of economic and political instability, with the consequence that the whole European single currency enterprise may become dysfunctional. The EU has been described as a burning building with no exits, a potential disaster from the start. Greece joined the union ill-prepared, without the financial systems and institutions to support the level of innovation needed to sustain the implementation of the requisite policies and practices. The referendum has been divisive.

Destabilising Greece's relationship with the EU would be a laudable pursuit if the intention and the outcome had been focused on human well-being rather than on the political futures of politicians. Any significant change in the way Greece conducts its affairs will require the exercise of human imagination in full flight. There can be nothing short of a far-reaching transformation of the way the economy is managed so that inward investment is encouraged. Ireland can no longer be complacent. Dependence on membership of the euro club leaves it very vulnerable to the negative influences of fluctuations in global and European financial stability. We could so easily become seduced by a minor boom into the makings of a major bust.

What the Greek crisis says, above all else, is that the EU is a union only in name.

There seems to be no risk-sharing mechanisms or a centralised budget to help absorb the shock of unpredictable fluctuations in individual members' economic fortunes.Sadly, much pain lies ahead for the Greek people.

One can only hope we are not witnessing the seeds of a significant humanitarian crisis.

Philip O'Neill,

Oxford, OX1 4QB, England

Greece on the brink

How undemocratic of the IMF and EU not to insist that the Greek people be given the opportunity to change their minds by asking them to vote again in another referendum.

R O'Gealagain,

Bray, Co Wicklow


This is truly a wonderful day; Greece has voted for democracy and in the process shown the absurdity of the economic policy followed by Europe and, indeed, the world.

The extraordinary situation is that Greece is little more, or substantially less, indebted than many including ourselves, who castigate it so.

Per head of capita, debt statistics are as follows: Greece €31,000; Ireland €46,000; Germany €24,000; France €37,000; the UK €34,000.

Greece is in the eye of the storm, however, because it is indisputably obvious to absolutely everybody that Greece cannot, under any circumstance, ever repay or even service the debt.

But the reality is that nobody else can repay the debt either, and we will progressively become less able to repay it because historic methods of repaying debt - growth and employment - are in massive decline due to the enormous economic changes modern technology has wrought in the world.

There is no longer any need for growth because in recent decades technology has achieved the ability to produce more goods and services than the world can consume.

In a wonderful situation of continually being able to produce everything the human race needs or wants in abundance, rather than grow production further, there is need for management and restraint of our ever-improving ability to produce so some order can be brought to the enormous oversupply that is destroying business all over the world.

Extraordinary world debt, something approaching $61 trillion, is the result of trying to stimulate growth and work in a world which no longer needs them on anything like the scale needed when our present economic ideology was formulated.

This is a changed world of abundance and leisure; we must adapt by forgiving debt, restraining production and generating more employment from a decreasing pool of work, or we will all move into the Greek tragedy trying to operate an economic ideology that is no longer adequate.

Padraic Neary

Tubbercurry, Co Sligo


It's all Greek to the rest of Europe. Democracy, I mean.

Robert Sullivan

Bantry, Co Cork


Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has shown he is a statesman by stepping aside. He will have made a lot of bankers happy with his departure.

He said that his going would be helpful in finding a solution to the country's debt crisis.

He has paid a heavy price for his refusal to compromise his principles in believing what was best for the people he represents.

Mr Varoufakis may have gone but the same problems remain. Only meaningful engagement involving negotiations and compromise will pull Europe back from the brink.

G O'Brien

Dalkey, Co Dublin

Cowen and Banking Inquiry

I commend Brian Cowen for stating the obvious. That those sitting in judgment at the inquiry, were, during their time on the back benches, fuelling Mr Cowen to spend more and more. I never remember any of them calling a halt, apart from George Lee and one or two other political economists. In any event, none of these numerous inquiries, tribunals etc are very impressive.

Michael O'Mara

Patrickswell, Co Limerick


The pattern at the Banking Inquiry has been the same. Admit a certain culpability, express regret for any perceived harm done. Give a thumbs up from your car and head off for a pint. Brian Cowen is sorry, he accepts responsibility.

So what happens next? Does he lose his pension? Do we get our money back? Stop wasting money please on these meaningless inquiries. John Cuffe


Irish Independent

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