Game on… February 29, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
So, along with the household tax here is another issue to trouble the Coalition – the recognition that yes, despite all the fluff about it being otherwise, the fiscal treaty demands an Irish referendum. And that on the day when S&P announce that Greece is in selective default. Not a great time for the Eurozone, or indeed the Euro, which might account for its slide against the dollar.
Coincidentally, or not, Backroom in the Sunday Business Post this weekend had a number of interesting observations on the latest outcome to the Greek crisis. As s/he notes the Greek deal is simply insufficient unto the scale of the problem that state faces- national debt reaching 168 per cent of GDP next year. And no guarantee that the deal will be accepted by private sector lenders. But Backroom also notes the central aspect of this, that being that…
The EU has failed at every level. It was the EU which pushed the euro project that has turned into such a disaster. A leading German official privately confided to the Financial Times: “It seems to me that we have invented a machine from hell that we cannot turn off.”
In the face of the economic crisis which the euro has unleashed, the EU has repeatedly done too little too late, as it seems to hope that the problem will somehow go away by itself.
The EU Commission has allowed itself to be supplanted by France and Germany which seem now, contrary to EU treaty law, to be directing affairs.
For those who retain a degree of adherence to the European project as a concept and actuality it is that latter aspect which has been so deeply dispiriting. For the two states to assume a position of primus inter pares has mean the effective abandonment of the supposed aims of the Union. This was never meant, at the rhetorical level, to be a union where individual nation states could sideline the Commission and institutions. And even if that were accepted and acceptable, which it is not, there is little evidence that Germany and France have acted beyond their narrow national interests.
And it is this which one suspects is the reason for the bizarre analyses of the crises put forward by those explaining away their actions…
Instead of accepting the truth – that the euro reduced interest rates too much in periphery states and that this led to enormous debt, property and public sector bubbles in those states – the EU has preferred a comforting narrative of sinning spendthrifts on the periphery being rescued by unsullied savers in the core.
What is conveniently forgotten in many analyses is that the EU, and other international organisations such as the IMF and OECD, tended to a panglossian view of what was occurring economically and commercially on their watch in both the individual states and as regards the international regulatory systems during the 2000s.
That said I wonder if the following is entirely correct…
There are huge implications for Ireland’s political parties in the gradual change in the EU’s power, capacity and political attractiveness. With youth unemployment now hovering at around 50 per cent in Spain and Greece, the EU has been transformed from ally to enemy for the young.
In Ireland, the youth unemployment rate is 29 per cent. It is easy to see Ireland’s eurosceptic parties winning support at the expense of pro-EU parties.
Hmmm… Perhaps. They point to SF as capitalising on this attitude, but I don’t – to be honest – see SF as anywhere near as eurosceptic as it was. Euro-critical, surely. And that’s hardly an unusual position in these days. Interesting too how McDowell’s comments recently on new parties seemed to explicitly rule out euro-scepticism. And whether euro-scepticism as an immediate response to the crisis can be translated into a long lasting political strand in the society seems to me to be a very open question. Again, perhaps, but I’d be dubious.
I don’t have a clue what the outcome of the referendum will be, I wonder if our now enviable track record of running referendums twice on issues will make people less risk averse in terms of voting no, if only to discomfit our supposed ‘partners’ in Europe. But either way, good that whatever decision is taken on foot of it will have at least a tinge of democratic legitimation. The genuinely disturbing aspect of this is how unusual that is in some of the states at the centre of the crisis… Italy… Greece…