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Eamon Keane: Enda, you are holding plenty of aces so don't buy into Merkel's bluff

"You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em...''

Enda Kenny is playing high stakes poker. At last Friday's Heads of State meeting, they tried to bluff him into giving up our corporation tax rate.

Enda didn't squeak when they squeezed. No reassurances, either, that Enda would honour senior bank debt.

It was a useful meeting because we now know some of Angela's and Nicolas' hand.

We know Merkel and Co tried to raise the ante by making us surrender corporation tax in return for the cut in interest rate. However, if they were willing to reduce the interest rate for tax harmonisation, it means they are also willing to change the rate without it.


Why? They wouldn't even consider putting interest rate reduction on the table if it was that important.

However, Angela and Nicolas have bluffed Greece into selling of some its crown jewels. According to the Financial Times, they offered Greece a 1pc interest reduction on their debt. In addition, Greece got its repayment schedule extended from 4.5 to 7.5 years.

The price? Greece must sell off some f50bn of prized state assets in return. Greece agreed.

The next big European meeting is due the last week of March. Enda needs to hold tough. The Mayo man holds more aces than he knows.

For one, Enda could sit down with rest of the PIGS. That is the collective term for us, Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. We are all up the creek together.

We always hear about a creditors' meeting. What about a debtors' meeting to agree to and dictate the terms of what we can pay? Too big to fail. Spain and Italy are the real threats to the Euro and have a lot of leverage because of their size.

So if the PIGS combine, they can fight the European interest rate and the duration of the repayment schedules. And so PIGS may fly!

Enda's next play is simple. Ireland has to refuse to pay all of the private bank debts. It must also insist on interest rate reduction. Then the questions for Germany and France are simple. Are they willing to forgive some of the debt and keep the European Union/Euro alive? Or will they insist on their kilos of flesh but kill the main body?

Enda does however need to stop playing the 'mandate from the Irish people' card. They don't give a pretzel about that. Remember how they ignored the first Lisbon Treaty mandate and made us vote again?

Enda also has to watch the bigger picture. Make no mistake, Germany wants one European Finance Minister and that may be the ultimate price.

It will come in under another guise. The Germans can argue, with some justification, that given they pay so much into Europe they should get to decide most of the action. Secondly, they can argue that our last Government made such a mess of things that we shouldn't be trusted to run anything.

But they are wrong. Cowen, Ahern and co were a one-off. They had a talent for f***ing up beyond anything ever witnessed before on this island.

The big players in the EU do not have the right to take our sovereignty. Already we had the suits from the IMF and EU holed up with Justin Bieber in Dublin last week.


And whatever about the Canadian wunderkind taking the hearts and minds of our youth, we don't need the IMF /EU ripping our children's futures out.

Because, make no mistake about it, they are looking for the right to run our economic and financial affairs.

Ask yourself why do they want our corporation tax so badly? It's because it is a major advantage to us. Germany has structural and geographical advantages we can only dream of. It is simply not fair to take one of our last few competitive assets.

So, Enda, hold tough and don't buy the bluff.

twitter@eamonbkeane, blog www.citizenkeane.ie