Wednesday 13 November 2019

Editorial: We do have problems but it's all about perspective

Ukrainian opposition leaders Yulia Tymoshenko and Vitali Klitschko in Dublin yesterday
Ukrainian opposition leaders Yulia Tymoshenko and Vitali Klitschko in Dublin yesterday

Sometimes it is beneficial to reflect a bit on the problems of others – if only for the selfish outcome of putting some context on one's own difficulties.

The past week has brought us a good example of this as key politicians from across Europe arrived in Dublin for a summit of the European People's Party (EPP) to which Fine Gael is aligned.

It had been planned as a galvanising exercise for the various national parties ahead of European Parliament elections next May, along with choosing a likely contender for the job as head of the EU Commission.

In the event, the crisis in Ukraine dominated with leaders such as Yulia Tymoshenko telling their people's story here in Ireland. It is the story of a peaceful people coping with economic collapse and in dread of war.

It put Ireland's situation in context. But it did not in any way trivialise our own concerns or take away from the campaign the Government must continue at EU level for help with historic multi-billion euro bank debt.

At the end of the two days there was a signal from the German chancellor that there may ultimately be the prospect of help once EU-wide banking reforms are put in place. That process will take up to a year.

While it may be too early to pop open the champagne, we at least have every good reason to keep it on ice. And there were other positive elements to be taken from the two-day EPP summit.

There was a great energy about the gathering in the splendid Convention Centre in Dublin. For many delegates it was their first visit to Dublin and the atmosphere in and around the centre was very good.

The Taoiseach played the role of host rather well but he also strongly laid out Ireland's case for help with historic bank debt. The popular star turn was Bono whose presence alone reminded visitors of Ireland's cultural reach.

The Government must continue a very determined campaign to address the bank debt issue. But we must all try to see things in a wider context also.

Irish Independent

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