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We're Partners In Europe, Seán, But Who Said Anything About Fair?

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We're partners in Europe, Seán, but who said anything about fair?

We're partners in Europe, Seán, but who said anything about fair?

GAVIN BARRETT

OPINION: Imagine the following conversation between an Irish and a German taxpayer on a bus . . .

IRISH TAXPAYER (Séan): I am really furious right now, Helmut. You are simply not being fair. Why don’t you help us out when we need it?

German Taxpayer (Helmut): Help you out, Seán? I’m not sure I understand. Why should we help you? You got yourselves into this.

Seán: No. You did, Helmut. Your investors – and those from all over Europe – lent to the Irish banks, financing their property market gambling by buying their bonds. The Irish banks are now insolvent, and those investors’ bonds should be worthless. But, despite all Angela Merkel’s talk about haircuts for bondholders, you won’t allow your own investors to take the hit that they should be taking, to get “burned” the way they should! Do you know how much senior bank debt there is in Ireland? €42 billion! Our total national debit is only €90 billion.

Helmut: Wait a minute, Seán. You want me as a German taxpayer to bail out your insolvent State – in exchange for which you will restore budgetary order to Ireland, but inflict losses on German – and other – investors which could trigger pandemonium in the banking sector in Germany and elsewhere across Europe and cause a currency crisis? Well, thanks, but no thanks, Seán. We had enough of currency crises in Germany in the 1920s. Why on earth should we give you our money so that you can use it to present us with another set of gift-wrapped crises?

It is true that Ireland and its banks going bankrupt doesn’t help anyone. So if you want our money to get you out of your problem, it seems fair enough to organise a loan for you. But – let’s be fair – this should not be at our expense. We and our friends will use our good names to get you a loan of, say, €67.5 billion. But you can pay the usual market rate – and throw in €17.5 billion yourselves. Self-preservation dictates we simply have to impose a condition on this help, though, you are not to wreck our banking system by “burning” senior bondholders.

Seán: So, you mean the money the banks owe the senior bondholders to whom our Government issued the guarantee will just have to be paid?

Helmut: No. I mean all the senior bondholders will have to be paid, Seán, even the ones holding the €19 billion worth of senior bank debt you never guaranteed. This is not about guarantees.This is about you not wrecking our banks and investors.

Seán: But that’s not fair! Look, €67.5 billion just isn’t enough to recapitalise our banks and allow us any spare cash to stimulate economic growth. Plus, you’re charging us too high an interest rate. It’s not clear we will even be able to pay this. And on top of that you are now making us take on bank debts that our Government never said we’d pay!

Helmut: Calm down. I know it will be tough, but there’s at least a reasonable chance you will be able to pay. . Here’s a copy of the EU treaties. Show me where it says in there that we would bail you out if you bankrupted your own economy. That’s right . . . nowhere. It’s maybe not the right moment to say this to you, but the reality is you should actually be grateful that I am giving you any help at all. We don’t have to. Look, tell you what, we’ll think about keeping low-interest ECB funding for your banks going for just a bit longer, and maybe when things calm down in a few years we might lend you more if you need it.

Like I said, it’s in nobody’s interest to see Ireland bankrupted – although it is fair that you feel quite a bit of economic pain for your really irresponsible behaviour. You can’t seriously expect us to lend you money while you instigate a panic with your “bondholder- burning” that would wreck our banking system and our currency.

Seán: We won’t pay this. We can’t pay it. It’s too much.

Helmut: I am afraid you will have to, Seán. If you don’t accept the terms on offer you have absolutely no way of financing your ongoing budget deficit. Plus your banks will collapse because, well, you’ll have nothing to finance them with.

Seán: We could just refuse the loan and bring you down too.

Helmut: I don’t think you would dare. For a start, another major crisis in the euro zone is in nobody’s interest – least of all Ireland’s. Secondly, Ireland would collapse financially first, not anyone else. Your problem, Seán, is that you are looking at things the wrong way. You are supposing a moral duty on other countries to help Ireland out to an extraordinary degree. I don’t accept the existence of any such duty. The reality is that every state in the euro zone, and indeed in the EU, is there, for the most part, for its own benefit: out of enlightened self-interest.

Seán: You have a strange idea of EU these days.

Helmut: Is it so very different from yours? I don’t recall too many Irish people on either side of the Lisbon Treaty debate in Ireland ever talking about Europe’s interests. On the contrary, that debate was all about Ireland, Ireland, Ireland. It strikes me that people who accuse Germans of not being very good Europeans should look into their own hearts a bit more.

Poor, poor Ireland.

I really hope they default.

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Yes. Poor Sean should direct his anger at his corrupt govt/bankers/businessmen who got them into this mess.

Easier to blame the foreigners than face up to the reality that it is one of your own.

No doubt the same 2 parties will be fighting the next election with new promises to the sheep.

What's really needed is an Irish uprising of the kind last seen in 1916. Against their own imperial rulers in Dublin.

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Didn't the Irish vote, in a blatantly self interested way, against some central/east european countries being admitted to the Union?

I seem it recall it caused a rumpus some time ago.

Lets face it, some Irish people, not all by any means but some and maybe more than a few, were oh so happy to gloat as they received more bounty from Brussels than was probably fair.

It's just such a shame this great opportunity has been squandered.

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Yes. Poor Sean should direct his anger at his corrupt govt/bankers/businessmen who got them into this mess.

Easier to blame the foreigners than face up to the reality that it is one of your own.

No doubt the same 2 parties will be fighting the next election with new promises to the sheep.

What's really needed is an Irish uprising of the kind last seen in 1916. Against their own imperial rulers in Dublin.

Seán is a name originating in the Irish language. It is the Irish equivalent of the French Jean (English John).

Shaun, Shawn or Sean come from the way it is pronounced in Munster, Leinster, and Connaught.

Shaun the sheep is really 'John' - crafty tupper!

In the 11th century, the Norman duke William the Conqueror invaded and conquered England and brought his Norman knights and their dialect with him.

In England, the French name Jehan (pronounced [dʒɛˈan]) came to be spelled John.

The Name Jehan is both a boy and girl's name .

The origin of the name Jehan is Muslim

with the meaning(s) depending on Gender/Origin being

Muslim - "The world".

Jehan has the following similar or variant Names: Eoin Evan Gian Giankos Giannakos Gianni Giannini Gianninno Gianozzi Giovanni Gon Hanan Hanka Hankos Hans Hanns Hannus Hansel Hansli Hanson Iaian Iain Ian Ievan IfanIoannes Ion Ivan Ivanjuscha Ivanky Ivor Iwan Jackie Jackson Jacky Jan Janos Jean Jehan Jen Jock

Edited by erranta

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Funny, I read that piece and felt much more sympathetic to the German.

poor ireland. what about their benefits levels... living the life of Riley.

predatory corporation tax rates

massive recipients of EU state aid.

living waaaaay beyond their means.

poor ireland ...really ... or just an overdue collision with the real world ?

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  • 311 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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