Friday 13 December 2019

Killing Europe

• The Irish people are being asked once again to vote for a European treaty, ie, the fiscal compact. The main political parties, FG, Labour, and Fianna Fail, are arguing that a Yes vote will produce stability, jobs and growth.

The treaty is referred to as 'the Stability Treaty', but if we look across Europe at present, there is little sign of stability in any country.

The real fact is that Europe is in turmoil. Spain, Portugal and Britain are back in recession -- and the Spanish and Italian governments are paying unsustainable interest rates when they borrow in the bond markets.

France has elected a new president who wants to review the fiscal treaty; the Dutch government has collapsed over the programme for austerity; the Greeks have voted out the government that signed up to the bailout and austerity; the British -- our biggest economic partner -- will not be part of the fiscal treaty; the German parliament has delayed ratification; and the euro itself is in freefall.

How can it be possible to achieve stability, growth and jobs in the current chaos?

European and Irish banks are still not functioning and credit is stifled. We have gone from one extreme to the other -- too much credit to absolute austerity.

Surely, the Government should postpone the referendum until the results of the elections across Europe and their consequences are absorbed and rationally analysed? What is the big rush?

Irish citizens are entitled to a better deal. It's their taxes that are paying for the current €85bn bailout. This bailout is due to irresponsible political and corporate governance allied with individual greed.

The Irish citizen should insist that politicians secure a better deal. The Greeks got €100bn off their debt when they agreed to the bailout terms but we refused to go down this road even though Fine Gael and Labour made pledges to renegotiate the terms of the bailout.

This Government has achieved a reduction of €5bn but, it should have stipulated the total write-off of the €40bn Anglo Irish debt as a condition to supporting the fiscal treaty.

By voting Yes at this time we may be weakening our bargaining position. Postponing ratification, like the Germans have, would give us greater opportunity to achieve a growth and stimulus package as has been demanded now by the French.

The Germans will want the Irish on board as we are fully complying with the terms of the bailout. We are paying our dues to the German banks and unfortunately we do not protest as a people against the injustice it is causing.

John Lyons
Bandon, Co Cork

Irish Independent

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