One of the issues that has become ever more apparent over recent months even years is that our leaders appear to be no better at managing the economy than the rest of us are at managing our own personal budgets.
Indeed there are those of us who believe that the average home maker could do a lot better than our government ministers and our senior civil servants.
To some extent, when the troika was ensconced on these shores we had the view all would be well because the boys from Brussels keeping an eagle eye on the actions of our government would ensure that our own guys would perform. However, the troika has now left, and having been good boys and girls and doing as we were told, we have been left alone to our own devices to some extent.
Unfortunately, the Government in an effort to get itself elected in 2015-2016 has decided that it’s going to ignore the advice of our European masters. That advice is to reduce our debt rather put more money into the pockets of sections of the electorate. Instead government has decided that largesse is required to be re-elected.
So on the home front, we are potentially entering a very a very unstable and uncertain period.
That uncertainty has been further exacerbated by the Eurostat decision to refuse to accept Irish Water as a standalone commercial entity.
So with one fell swoop, millions of euro will remain the Irish economy’s bottom line. On its own that would be bad enough. However, what passes for prudent economic management in Ireland has been surpassed by the mismanagement of the European economy by those who see themselves as the leaders of Europe.
This is exemplified by the Greek economy debacle and the dealings that the EU, IMF, and ECB, egged on by others including our own government, has had with the Greek government.
It is easy for us to sit back and say that we’ve suffered severe austerity at the hands of the EU, and others, and by doing so, infer that as we paid a price, so should Greece.
And it would be great if it were as simple as that.
One of the 10 points on the EU’s Mission Statement is “to strengthen Europe’s economy and to promote solidarity around Europe by working in partnership with national, regional and local government.”
Does anyone of us believe that is what happened in Europe’s dealings with Greece?
Indeed the clear response, to the financial pain that many of the smaller countries were suffering, from the centre of the union in Brussels was one of bullying and spin. It points to a clear democratic and solidarity deficit.
Europe is indeed interested in developing business but it seems that its main focus is to protect the business interests of France and Germany. Greece didn’t help its own case. It has been a serial offender. Even now there is still a possibility that its efforts to comply with the demands of the troika may go pear shaped.
The reasons are simple.
Greece’s debts are enormous. There is an argument the amounts they owed will never be paid back ever. Clearly, if the guys who designed these bailout conditions have any cop on, they will be aware of that. The demands of the troika are so severe they will result in depression and recession.
Greece should never have been allowed enter the eurozone, but others facilitated it joining with sleight of hand. The powers that be in Europe knew this. There should have been no surprise when Greece defaulted repeatedly. From the Greek experience, it is clear that we do not live in a Europe of equals.
Both Germany and France consider themselves more equal that the other member countries whose job it is to keep German and French factories working. The fact that we and other countries were not permitted to burn bank bondholders, aka gamblers, is testament to the power that Germany and France has within Europe.
Given its failings, we must ask why the people of Europe should consider the current EU structure as being fit for purpose.