Thursday 14 December 2017

What did the Germans ever do for us in the EU anyway?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny get ready to address a joint news conference at the chancellery in Berlin. JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny get ready to address a joint news conference at the chancellery in Berlin. JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images
John Downing

John Downing

With due apologies to the Monty Python team, it used to be very easy to list off a host of good things Germany had done for Ireland in the European Union.

Up to about 2010, since the Germans stumped up one-third of the EU funds and these funds flowed abundantly for two decades into Ireland, you could go on for some time. The road upgrades, the railway rolling stock and the handsome farm grants were just a flavour.

But apart from all those goodies, there was the nasty business of legacy bank debt, which really came home to roost after the EU-IMF Troika's €67.5bn bailout in November 2010. It is tempting to look at what happened in that period and then project forward into the fate of Ireland's current efforts to argue that this country is hugely at risk in the post-Brexit era, as the EU and UK begin framing new relationships.

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