Thursday 19 April 2018

Willie Kealy: Enda and Angela and Francois --man-up now

Some austerity now is a necessary evil but it must not be seen as the only answer, writes Willie Kealy

What we need right now is some real leadership. Can you imagine Helmut Kohl or Francois Mitterrand indulging in the kind of squawking we woke up to last Monday.

Francois Hollande was acting all macho and telling us how he was going to stand up to Angela Merkel over the Stability treaty. Angela was sending it right back at him, saying there would be no renegotiation, even as her own parliament was postponing ratification.

The election of Hollande is a positive development. The best thing about Francois Hollande is that he is not Nicolas Sarkozy. Hollande gives us hope because he realises that austerity alone is no solution and there have to be some measures to promote growth as well. By midweek, the megaphones had been put away and it became clear that another European war had not been declared. In fact, it became obvious that Merkel will reluctantly accommodate the wishes of Hollande when they meet on Tuesday, but without the necessity for treaty renegotiation. As the German Green Party finance spokesperson Dr Gerhhard Schick said: "Merkel has a considerable capacity to adapt and she will do that with Hollande." He in turn will not insist on unreasonable demands for extra spending. There may be a protocol or two favourable to France, but the treaty will stand. And in the meantime, growth will become front and centre on the European agenda, starting with the EU summit on May 23.

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