Wednesday 24 January 2018

Happy family union is German fairytale

We are being made to sit on the naughty step by hypocritical authority figures, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Fall behind on your mortgage repayments and the first thing financial advisers suggest is to extend the period of the loan to ease the burden.

Face similar difficulties as a country and suddenly there's a demand that the debt be paid off faster. The latest report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) poses a pertinent question: if that tactic would bring ruin on ordinary mortgage payers, why will the country fare any better?

It's different if you're French, of course. German Chancellor Angela Merkel may have been heavily criticised back home for caving in to pressure from Paris by easing up on plans to impose automatic sanctions on countries within the EU which allow their deficits to rise above three per cent of GDP; but French President Nicolas Sarkozy still got his way. We get the message. If you're big enough, you can get away with it. There's less leeway for us.

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