Ireland’s Stability Programme: The European Commission’s Opinion

On St Patrick’s Day, the European Commission issued its opinion on Ireland’s multi-year fiscal plan: you can download it here.

16 replies on “Ireland’s Stability Programme: The European Commission’s Opinion”

Reads very badly. Written by an economist, I expect.

Full of sound and fury, not. I note that Ireland was merely invited to adopt certain measures. Mandarin speak, no doubt? GIGO.

They don’t say anything about riots or revolution. So they won’t occur. But they do predict everything will be fine by 2014. Excellent news. All our troubles are over!

DOD will be delighted, it is full of positivity. Lots of increasing GDP, I see. Thank God for economists, they have saved our Bacon again!

@Pat Donnelly
“Full of sound and fury, not. I note that Ireland was merely invited to adopt certain measures. Mandarin speak, no doubt? GIGO. ”

You mistake the level of censure in the tone. Take for example:
“As regards the data requirements specified in the code of conduct for stability and convergence programmes, the programme has some gaps in the required and optional data”
Optional data = “no longer optional for you boyos”

The ‘invitations’ are a threat – there is an implied ‘or else’. With Frau Merkel pushing an expulsion mechanism for the eurozone, there is about to be a very big stick deployed.

I suspect the minister may be stuck between a rock and a hard place – needing to give our EU masters more info but knowing that in so doing, it will provide lots of ammo for the opposition….. not that they seem overly capable of doing much when given the ammo.

I tend to agree with some of the more pessimistic forecasts around – just talking to twenty-odd students on a masters programme recently, it’s obvious that most of them don’t intend sticking around in Ireland once they’ve finished their studies. Whether that’s representative of a potential exodus of people that would normally be paying higher than average taxes over the course of the next few years I can’t prove but it’s what they all seem to be saying. They have lost faith in the political system and in Ireland’s ability to recover economically in any reasonable timescale.

….. and there still seems to be lots of potential for things to go wrong out there 🙁

There appears to be a strong emphasis on pension reform. One would like to know exactly what the Commission is looking for.

Sarah Collins at the Independent takes a very sober view.

“IRELAND’S plans to bring spending and borrowing under control may require deeper cuts than previously forecast, the European Commission said yesterday, as it demanded that Finance Minister Brian Lenihan take action on public sector pensions and provide more details about plans for further cuts over the next few years”


Reading the text, I think the Commission wants to encourage further steps (beyond what’s already proposed) to reduce the future liability to the state, some better estimation of the likely future liability and more clarity on what provisions will be made – and the fiscal impact of these. I also suspect – but this is pure speculation – that the Commission may be concerned about the proposed raiding of the NPRF to recap the banks and the risk that these “investments” may have to be written down considerably in the future, thereby reducing the potential to address the future pension liability.

More cuts in public service numbers, pay and conditions of employment? Where are the union sympathisers on the site?

@Dreaded Estate – “Will this force the government to announce detailed plans for the cuts/taxes over the next 2-3 years?”

In theory it should. But I just don’t see them handing that kind of revolver to the opposition (or the unions, or the workers, or the unemployed, or the electorate, etc.).

tull mcadoo
I was a member of IMPACT for over twenty years. They never helped me with respect to my income continuation claim. Nor the AHCS. Bunch of banksters.
Unions are a proving ground for politicians who come from the working classes. The others go to Uni and join there.
Don’t mistake sympathy for those who have jobs with reality. Many of those who have income now may not have it in two years time. The jobless get my sympathy. They don’t got no union.
Further cuts will be self defeating as there is a loss of tax revenue when all they can do is work and commute. 20% is enough for the time being. It may need to be revisited in line with deflation in five years or so as the depression deepens!

Mandarin speak is where Sir Humphery quakes when normal folk would say “so what”. Get a chill pill! Bring chided by our real masters may worry you, but it gives me heart that our local pollies might buck up a bit.

Aside from anything else, the EU mandarins will have to adjust the 60% rule when it is no longer feasible to impose it! Another Pat prediction! They can Mandarin speak all they like, but reality eventually intrudes. The EZ is headed for 100% debt/GDP.

Paul Hunt
Do you mean that the only sensible thing the bozos did was an EU baby? It never occurred to me but clearly you are correct.

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