Wednesday 22 November 2017

EU 'partners' make €1.3bn yearly profit at our expense

DANIEL McCONNELL Chief Reporter

IRELAND is being "financially bullied" by our European partners who are profiteering to the tune of €1.3bn a year from "draconian" interest margins, government TD Peter Mathews has claimed.

Writing in today's Sunday Independent, Mr Mathews, a chartered accountant and banking consultant, said that our partners are engaging in "excessive profiteering" and are showing no solidarity in our hour of need.

"When the loans are fully drawn down, the profit margin charged to Ireland will be €1.3bn per annum.

"Put another way, in addition to paying for the EU's borrowing costs, Ireland will be paying a further €1.3bn of pure profit to our partners in Europe."

Mr Mathews said the two separate European funds contributing to Ireland's €85bn rescue deal, are lending to Ireland at profit margins of 3 per cent, which he said is "exploitation".

He said: "These margins are draconian. The majority of the interest that Ireland pays is not used to pay for the EU's borrowing costs."

He also the deal should not be referred to as a bailout: "It is excessive profit for the countries that are lending us money.

"It is exploiting our vulnerability. It is financial bullying," he added.

Mr Mathews's article comes in the wake of news that the French government is now digging in its heels on the issue of Ireland's 12.5 per cent rate of corporation tax.

France says that Ireland must make some gesture on this issue in return for securing more favourable debt interest rates.

Mr Mathews said such demands run contrary to the commitment of solidarity as expressed in the Lisbon Treaty, to help those in financial distress.

"The Lisbon Treaty allows the European Council to grant financial assistance to member states in difficulty in a spirit of solidarity. There is no solidarity in charging Ireland over €2m for every €1m it costs Europe to borrow money.

"There is no solidarity in insisting on earning a profit of €1.3bn annually from Ireland after we have been hit with the greatest financial crisis in Europe's history."

He added: "There is no solidarity in forcing Ireland to raise taxes, slash wages and cut social welfare in order to pay billions of euro in profit to the rest of Europe.

"There is no solidarity in profiteering from Ireland's misfortune and hardship," he said.

He concluded that if there is no end of this bullying, the next logical step would be to present our case to the European Court of Justice.

Sunday Independent

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