Friday 15 December 2017

If the euro is to have any chance of survival, fiscal unity must come, writes Willie Kealy

Willie Kealy

Willie Kealy

You kind of get fed up saying it after a while, but first principles are probably always worth restating. We have two problems, and they are separate problems. We spend more than we earn, and we have to put that right. And we owe so much in sovereign debt that we can never hope to repay it, so we need some help.

Reducing our deficit to 3 per cent of GDP by next year is the main reason for the austerity measures which the Troika is imposing upon us, but this is no bad thing. If we want to be competitive again, then we have to do it.

Our sovereign debt is another matter. Getting relief on the money we borrowed to shore up our banks and pay off their bondholders is a crippling burden that we brought upon ourselves, under heavy pressure from the ECB. Right now, we are paying that back in tranches of €3bn at regular intervals, but this cannot go on.

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