Oireachtas Meetings on the Fiscal Treaty

This post was written by Seamus Coffey

Since the beginning of February the Committee Rooms in LH2000 have been busy holding meetings on the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance.  The table below the fold gives a list of the witnesses who have been before the Joint Committee on EU Affairs and the Sub-Committee on the Fiscal Treaty of the same membership.

Links to the presentations made by some of the witnesses can be found here, with webcasts here.  The dates in the table are links to the transcripts of each session.  More will be added as they become available.


Meeting Witnesses
February 2nd Dr. Alan Ahearne (NUIG)
Prof. Karl Whelan (UCD)
Mr. Tom McDonnell (TASC)
Prof. John McHale (NUIG)
February 23rd Mr. Paul Sweeney (ICTU)
Mr. Seamus Coffey (UCC)
Dr. Karen Devine (DCU)
March 1st

Her Excellency Emmanuelle d’Achon (France)
His Excellency Dr. Eckhard Lübkemeier (Germany)
His Excellency Javier Garrigues (Spain)

March 15th Prof. Gerry Boyle (Teagasc)
Mr. James Doorley (National Youth Council)
Ms. Marie Sherlock (SIPTU)
Dr. Seán Healy (Social Justice Ireland)
April 3rd

His Excellency Dr. Tomas Kafka (Czech Republic)
Her Excellency Ms Diana Zagorianou-Prifti (Greece)
His Excellency Mr. Marcin Nawrot (Poland)
His Excellency Mr. Niels Pultz (Denmark)

Mr Bill Cash, MP (Conservative Party)
Ms. Nessa Childers, MEP (Labour)
Ms. Marian Harkin, MEP (Independent)
Mr. Paul Murphy, MEP (Socialist Party)
Ms. Phil Prendergast, MEP (Labour)

April 4th  Ms Sharon Bowles, MEP
Lord Lyndon Harrison
April 4th Prof. Philip Lane (TCD)
Mr. Dan O’Brien (Irish Times)
Mr. Jim Power (Friends First)

Dr. Gavin Barrett (UCD)
Dr. John Brennan (NUIM)
Mr. Declan Walsh (UCC)

April 5th Mr. John Bryan (IFA)
Mr. Mark Fielding (ISME)
Mr. Brendan Bruen (FSI)
Ms. Patricia Callan (SFA)
Mr. Brendan Butler (IBEC)
April 5th Mr. Brendan Halligan (IIEA)
Ms. Brid O’Brien (INOU)
Ms. Noelle O’Connell (EMI)
April 5th Mr. Declan Ganley (Libertas)
Cllr. Andrew Muir (Alliance Party)
Mr. Roderic O’Gorman (Green Party)
17th April Mr. Joe Higgins TD (Socialist Party)
Mr. Michael Martin TD (Fianna Fail)
Mr. Eamon Gilmore TD (Labour)
Ms. Catherine Murphy (Independent)
18th April Mr. Jimmy Kelly (UNITE)
Mr. Michael Taft (UNITE)
Ms. Megan Greene (Roubini Global Economics)
Prof. Brian Lucey (TCD)

Dr. Andrew Storey (UCD)
Prof. Terence McDonough (NUIG)
Mr. Ian Talbot (Chambers Ireland)
Prof. Gerry Whyte (TCD)

19th April Ms. Margaret Ritchie (SDLP)
   
To Come:  
25th April Mr. Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein)
26th April Mr. Enda Kenny (Fine Gael)
26th April Mr. Jonas Sjöstedt MP (Swedish Left Party)

61 Responses to “Oireachtas Meetings on the Fiscal Treaty”

  1. Gavin Kostick Says:

    A very valuable resource: thanks.

    At a first dip, fighting words from Prof. Terrence McDonough.

    “If the Irish people are against permanent austerity they should reject this treaty. The walk away option is not a disaster. It is not worse than the status quo with an added austerity treaty. We need to bargain harder and with deadly serious intent. If the government won’t do it, the people must through rejecting this referendum.”

    http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/Terrence-McDonough.pdf

  2. The Dork of Cork Says:

    Brian Lucey could not be more wrong.

    States don’t go broke……. their currencies perhaps are worthless but they don’t go broke.
    The minus signs on the exchequer balances are a manifestation of flawed monetary policey…..(not enough money in the system)
    Minuses are are not a real Physical good.
    Lets give up on the bankers idea money shall we……….it is only a intellectual construct that sadly cannot work too well in the physical world.

    We don’t need a Growth stragergy to bail out worse then useless bank credit we need a efficiency strategy to reduce the waste.

    This can only be acheived by printing base units of currency into the economic medium and then taxing the stuff.
    There is no other way out of this peonage which I guess is why we are still in it.

  3. The Dork of Cork Says:

    “Growth Stragergy” ?…… Growth strategy even.

    The credit envoirment built around us in not conducive to supplying goods & services at this energy level.
    You simply cannot grow more bank credit under present circumstances……this would make the built envoirment even more non optimal.
    Impossible to imagine I know but…………

  4. Sean Healy Says:

    Seamus, An oversight in your listing above. On March 15th, I was one of the witnesses and presented a Briefing on the Fiscal Compact which Social Justice Ireland had prepared for the Committee. The Committee voted to make the Briefing available on its website so I assume its there.

  5. Sean Healy Says:

    Just checked the Committee website and the Social Justice Ireland Briefing on the Fiscal Compact is there.

  6. Georg R. Baumann Says:

    Sean,

    allow me to say, I would suggest to put some meat to the bone here:

    http://www.socialjustice.ie/content/what-basic-income

    I would think, to elaborate in much greater detail might give it some more substance and perhaps even manifest it.

    It is such an important point, I feel it comes across very weak in the way it is presented.

    Best
    Georg

  7. Georg R. Baumann Says:

    @Seamus Coffey

    The opposite of second or third persons honorifics are first person forms such as:

    “Your most humble servant” or “This unworthy person”

    Having arrived in the 21st century, I’d - not so humbly - suggest to skip it.

    …just my 0,5 grams of Gold…

    Best
    Georg

  8. Georg R. Baumann Says:

    P.S.

    Ambassador is sufficient…not?

  9. Paul Hunt Says:

    What a weird and wonderful picture of the public face of Official Ireland - with a few external voices - this presents. And some key organ-grinders still hiding behind the curtains.

    The failure to grasp the political economy and institutional economics of all of this is surreal - but conveniently surreal for many of the participants. It would require Lewis Carroll to do it justice.

    I can only hope it stays fine for the powerful, influential and well-heeled, but I fear ‘events’ will overtake them. That could be fun.

  10. Georg R. Baumann Says:

    From her website, emphasis mine.

    Sharon Bowles tells Irish parliament ‘EU fiscal treaty is vital for ECB’
    April 4, 2012 10:52 AM
    British Euro MP Sharon Bowles, who chairs the European Parliament’s powerful Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, appeared in the Irish parliament today to give her expert opinion on the EU’s new fiscal treaty.
    The treaty, known as the ‘Fiscal Compact’, is designed to bring greater economic harmony and coordination to the Eurozone, of which Ireland is a member.
    The Fiscal Compact, which faces a referendum in Ireland before it can be ratified, will also provide cover for the European Central Bank to engage in quantitative easing.
    Speaking before the Irish Parliament’s Sub-Committee on the Referendum on the Fiscal Stability Treaty, Sharon Bowles said:
    “With all these summits going on the European Central Bank is just about the only institution that has substantial credibility in trying to solve the problems faced by the Eurozone.
    “Finance ministers meeting and agreeing something and then having to meet again a few weeks later has delayed action which needs to be taken.
    “Retaining the credibility of the ECB is of absolute paramount concern and therefore of itself provides a very good reason to sign this treaty, even if it is a little bit thin.”
    Sharon added:
    “Most of the content - including all the contentious content - of the Fiscal Compact concerning balanced budgets and rate of pay down of national debt is in fact being delivered through other EU legislation.
    “Given the UK’s experience of being ‘outside the tent’ it is in Ireland’s interests to stay inside the tent.”
    ENDS

  11. Georg R. Baumann Says:

    Should have invited her instead:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birgitta_Jónsdóttir

    …about 4 years ago that is…

  12. John Corcoran Says:

    Correct Denis and Peter have issued instructions to Enda and the cabinet. These instructions must be obeyed or else.

  13. Georg R. Baumann Says:

    @John Corcoran

    yeah… +1

    The Grey Eminence

    http://www.amazon.com/Grey-Eminence-Study-Religion-Politics/dp/0837175089

  14. Bond. Eoin Bond... Says:

    Chopra on Ireland - some very positive statements in terms of the IMF’s support for Ireland

    There were also some comments attributed to him which stated that no additional iscal adjustment would be required if Irish deficit figures underperformed solely due to poor growth. That seems like a very important statement to me - stick to the program and we’ll back you up. Tallies up with Asmussen comments last week as well. (waiting for the torrent of “odious debt” comments in response…)

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2012/0421/1224315008600.html

  15. Gavin Kostick Says:

    @ Mr Bond

    Yes, I read that too, Chopra says:

    ‘“If we did have a scenario where domestic demand did not pick up, and there were external shocks and that constrained export growth, and let’s say growth got stuck at around a half per cent, you would not then have debt stabilising; it would continue to go up,” he said. “So the basic point … is that risks are high. It all comes back to growth.”’

    I also note he says:

    ‘Mr Chopra also repeated a call made by IMF managing director Christine Lagarde for Europe’s bailout structures to be changed so that they can “bypass sovereigns” and take direct stakes in struggling financial institutions, adding that it “could make a world of difference”.’

    I was wondering what you made of this proposal. Also, if the banks are bailed out by the European bailout structures, who exactly gets a stake in them?

  16. Gavin Kostick Says:

    While I’m here, also in today’s IT

    “Kenny says Europe needs new tools to address crisis”

    In which he says:

    ‘“The insistence to date that taxpayers in each member state must stand behind the entire liabilities of banks regulated in their jurisdiction has probably been the greatest reversal in the European single market since its foundation,”’

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/0421/1224315009879.html

  17. John Corcoran Says:

    There must be an Irish refendum coming up soon–all this news is fantastic?

  18. David O'Donnell Says:

    @all

    As noted in the Jorg Asmussen thread, I’m still open to persuasion - simply need someone, anyone to demonstrate any plausible social scientific validity whatsoever on the 0.5, 60.0, & 1/20 in political economic terms. Otherwise, I must strenously object to placing arbitrary, and potentially highly dangerous, NONSENSE into Ireland’s Constitution.

    This challenge remains OPEN to May 30.

    @economists

    Any takers?

  19. John Corcoran Says:

    Voting yes is the road to serfdom. I understand this was dealt with in the Maastricht treaty. We need maximum flexibity for the road ahead. If the europeans pull the rug they have more to lose than Ireland.
    In tomorrow’s Sunday Business Post I have placed an add on behalf of the Irish Commercial Tenants Association stating;
    NO–to upward-only rents
    NO–to the Fiscal Compact
    NO–to the Political Liars

  20. Ceterisparibus Says:

    “Mr Chopra also repeated a call made by IMF managing director Christine Lagarde for Europe’s bailout structures to be changed so that they can “bypass sovereigns” and take direct stakes in struggling financial institutions, adding that it “could make a world of difference”.”

    How magnanimous. Having bailed out our own banks, we should now help in bailing out Spanish and Italian banks who have massive undisclosed contingent liabilities.

    @Gavin
    Is Enda beginning to wake up? The ECB is clearly not fit for purpose and is increasingly acting in the best interests of its dominant power. Look at bond Rates..gErmany pays 1.7% for 10 year money..why would they want to change anything?

  21. Bryan G Says:

    @Bond. Eoin Bond

    There were also some comments attributed to him which stated that no additional iscal adjustment would be required if Irish deficit figures underperformed solely due to poor growth. That seems like a very important statement to me - stick to the program and we’ll back you up. Tallies up with Asmussen comments last week as well.

    That has been the stated position of the IMF for some time, but during that time the EU Commission/Rehn have taken a much more rigid position. Having painted themselves into a corner by adopting rigid rules, the Commission do not want to be seen as not enforcing those rules. The main problem here is that the targets are defined in terms of something the government cannot control (deficit ratio, a function of growth) rather than things the government can control (fiscal adjustments). Also I do not know what Asmussen comments you are referring to. Yesterday he made another speech where he explicitly acknowledged differences between US/IMF and ECB/EU Commission views:

    This leads into my second question: is the response I just described – fiscal consolidation and structural reforms – killing growth in Europe? It is important to understand that we see things differently in Europe and the U.S. In our view, strong public finances are a pre-condition for sustainable growth. We see fiscal consolidation as supporting growth, because it creates confidence effects that will support consumption and investment in the future.

    No sign of backing off or slowing down on the predefined pace of fiscal consolidation here, which is seen as good in and of itself.

  22. Bond. Eoin Bond... Says:

    @ John Corcoran

    You represent an constituency which, in many peoples view, gouged the Irish consumer for a large part of the last decade. Forgive me if I, while having sympathy for the crazy rental regime currently in place, do not totslly buy into all of your other opinions. You signed contracts of your own volition that subsequently turned out to be bad decisions. It’s probably more complex than you make out. Forgiving you your high rents will ultimately lead Tia. Cost to the taxpayer, correct?

  23. Bond. Eoin Bond... Says:

    @ Bryan G

    You are incorrect - the Irish fiscal adjustment is ‘nominal’ based, not % based, and have a growth-based flexibility attached. It is different to the GR/PT programs in this regard.

    As for Assmussen, the part I am referring to is the section where he suggested that contend adherence to the program would see continued solidarity from Europe - ie it’s not about rigid debt or deficit levels so long as we show a commitment to stick to the program.

    Also - the US and the IMF are not necessarily on the same page anymore.

  24. Ceterisparibus Says:

    @Bryan G, Eoin Bond

    I see that Greece yesterday reported a deficit of 7.3b for the first three months up from 4.8b in the corresponding period.

    It looks like the troika is sticking with then despite the worsening position. So maybe there is a softening in official attitudes. How long for is the question.

    With Hollande looking set to win it is anyone’s guess as to how things will play out. Watch French yields on Monday.

  25. The Dork of Cork Says:

    @Ceter
    The Dwarf is a obvious US asset………me thinks the Anglos won’t like the change.
    Of course Hollande will probally do a Mitterrand and destroy what remains of the place.
    His plans to shut down all those Nukes will effect the French & European economy profoundly , spreading fuel poverty throughout the continent as Nat gas prices will truely take off.
    A classic German / French one two.

  26. Bryan G Says:

    @Bond. Eoin Bond

    I don’t follow your argument - Ireland has targets defined in terms of deficit/GDP ratios, so if GDP is less than predicted then additional adjustments are necessary. Ireland is under multiple programmes - the IMF/EU programme which ends in 2013 and the Excessive Defcit Procedure which extends beyond that. Some of the IMF/EU programme targets are defined in terms of expenditure ceilings but others include deficit ratios. In practice all the different programmes are viewed as one big programme - here’s what the Irish government says (from the latest IMF review)

    We have identified through a thorough expenditure review and additional revenue measures the broad options for the additional consolidation required to bring the deficit down to below 3% of GDP by 2015, to which we remain committed under the programme and the excessive deficit procedure

    I don’t agree with your interpretation (’it’s not about deficit levels”) of Asmussen’s comments. He talked about “fully implement the necessary adjustment and reforms” as a precondition for “solidarity”. The programme requires 3% to be hit by 2015. To me, “fully implement” means “fully implement”.

  27. PR Guy Says:

    @Ceterisparibus

    “I see that Greece yesterday reported a deficit of 7.3b for the first three months up from 4.8b in the corresponding period. It looks like the troika is sticking with then despite the worsening position. ”

    I have yet to figure out this ‘forbearance’.

    “Watch French yields on Monday.”

    Can I classify that as ‘investment advice’? :-)

    I thought the super smart markets would have this all ‘priced in’.

    I for one will be glad to see the poison dwarf go.

  28. John Corcoran Says:

    @Bond.Eoin Bond

    Irish Commercial tenants include tenants in factories,warehouses.offices and shops who employ hundreds of thousands of workers;

    There was no constitutional issue that was a lie.
    Below is a legal opinion from one of the country.s leading legal expert’s

    This is a summary page of a legal opinion obtained on the issue ;
    “In summary, therefore, I am of the view that:
    A. Any legislation which rendered void pre-existing contractual commitments providing for upwards-only rent review would deprive the landlords of a valuable contractual right without compensation. This, however, is not a dispositive consideration, since legislative interference with contractual rights along these lines is
    not uncommon, i.e., the very point which Costello J. made in Cafolla.
    B. The critical question is rather whether such legislation would be proportionate and objectively justifiable. For the reasons set out in this opinion, there are far reaching policy reasons why the Oireachtas might think that the prohibition of such clauses is
    necessary in the public interest. Not the least of those reasons is that the Oireachtas might consider that such clauses artificially maintain unrealistically high rental levels in the retail sector, thus hindering the recovery of the retail sector. Of course, given
    the high importance of the retail sector to the volume of economic transactions and consumer confidence, the economy as a whole cannot fully recover from an economic crash without the recovery of that sector.
    C. In my view, any such proposed legislation is no different in principle from many other forms of legislation which preclude or render void pre- existing business practices provided for by contract. The proposed legislation satisfies the proportionality
    test in that –
    i. It is rationally connected to an objective of sufficient importance (i.e., recovery in the retail sector) to warrant interference with a constitutionally protected right and, given the serious social problems which they are designed to meet, they undoubtedly relate to concerns which, in a free and democratic society, should be regarded as pressing and substantial.
    ii. Such legislation would also impair those rights as little as possible and their effects on those rights are proportionate to the objectives sought to be attained in that it would simply provide a mechanism whereby rents could be assessed by reference to prevailing market conditions and deflation.
    iii. Critically, such legislation would not attack the essence of the contractual right, namely, the right to receive a market rent and, unlike cases such as Blake, it would not involve one sector of society (namely, landlords) being expected unfairly to bear the burdens from other sectors of society are exempt.
    D. No difference in principle can be drawn between the proposed legislation and the FEMPI Act. Certainly, if the Oireachtas can constitutionally take steps drastically to interfere with existing contractual rights of service providers and public servants without compensation (as the High Court has already held in the JJ Haire case), then the proposed legislation of this kind would equally seem to be constitutionally valid.

    Colm McCarthy had provided the government with his report stating they must ban UORRs or they are destroying our economy.

    The cartel ,The Fine Gael Landlords Association and comrade Gilmore decided to destroy tens of thousands of sustainable Irish businesses and jobs .

  29. PR Guy Says:

    p.s. I was speaking to a highly knowledgeable French friend last night. She described both Sarko and Hollande as ‘incompétent’.

    Fires and frying pans come to mind.

  30. Bryan G Says:

    More trouble at’ mill, this time for one of the good boys.

  31. PR Guy Says:

    Not sure I would describe Geert Wilders as a ‘good’ boy!

  32. Stanley Adams Says:

    @Bond
    The gougers are the landlords, an organised cartel, and the political liars who we elected to ensure commercial tenants were granted market rents.

  33. John Corcoran Says:

    @BEB

    21st February 2011

    Dear Mr Corcoran

    I am very aware of the strength of feeling on the subject of commercial rents and Fine Gael has addressed this subject in our manifesto as part of a drive to cut business costs by strengthing competition in sheltered sectors.

    Specifically, in our manifesto we have committed to pass legislation to give all tenants the right to have their commercial rents reviewed in 2011 irrespective of any upward-only or other review clause.
    Please do not not hesitate to contact me if you have any queries in this regard.

    Best wishes
    Yours sincerely

    Sean Barrett TD

  34. Bryan G Says:

    @PR Guy

    Meant the country itself, not Mr. Xenophobia.

  35. Gavin Kostick Says:

    @ Bryan G

    You, quoting Asmussen:

    “It is important to understand that we see things differently in Europe and the U.S. In our view, strong public finances are a pre-condition for sustainable growth. We see fiscal consolidation as supporting growth, because it creates confidence effects that will support consumption and investment in the future.”

    Scary stuff.

    Just for the record here is Roberto Perotti in a Bank for International Settlements paper “The “Austerity myth”: Gain Without Pain?”, December 2011.

    Perotti is half of ‘Alesina and Perotti (1995)’ and thus in at the start of the expansionary fiscal contraction argument.

    From the abstract:

    “These results cast doubt on at least some versions of the “expansionary fiscal consolidations” hypothesis, and on its applicability to many countries in the present circumstances. A depreciation is not available to EMU members today (except vis à vis countries outside the Eurozone). A net export boom is not feasible for the world as a whole. A further decline in interest rates is unlikely in the current situation. And incomes policies are not popular nowadays; moreover, international experience, and the Danish case, suggest that they are ineffective after a few years.”

    I wonder if Governor Honohan can slip this into the ECB’s reading list?

    http://www.bis.org/publ/work362.htm

  36. Paul O'Brien Says:

    @Eoin Bond
    You are confusing the rental situation with the mortgage problem. You say to JC “forgiving you your high rents will cost the tax payer”. Commercial tenants should be paying market rents, not high rents, they are not buying the building just running a commercial activity. If there is no commercial activity there is no tax payer.
    Also no office or factory signed a contract for high rent they signed a contract for a market rent then at subsequent rent reviews the rent was hiked up by chartered surveyors acting for the developer/investor landlord often using rigged comparatives.
    The government are sending delegations of civil servants all over the world inviting foreign investors in and yet at the same time are extorting crazy rents from the people who came in and started enterprises like Harvey Norman, IDA companies etc. The IDA has confirmed this week “that it has the agreements that legally rule out any reduction in rents for 64 of the 73 companies to which it leases premises. As a result, their annual rents of up to €425,000 have not been reduced despite the huge fall in commercial rents.” The IDA has confirmed that there has been no rent reductions in the case of the 64 companies in upward-only rent review leases. ”Yes, the 64 leases still contain an upward-only clause so those 64 leases have not been reviewed to reflect market value,” it said. Harvey Norman has said it would leave the country if it could but it is locked in due to guarantees given by its parent companies when it signed the leases. So whether you are a small Irish business, an international retailer or a manufacturing company you are held prisoner here until you are bust. How is this a strategy for enterprise or employment. This might seem off topic but it does relate to the fiscal treaty in that if business people have lost confidence in the government they are unlikely to trust what they say and so many will vote no. They have direct experience of the governments incompetence and see that they are still listening to the bankers and developers who with the assistance of our civil servants and politicians destroyed the country.

  37. PR Guy Says:

    @Bryan G

    Just pulling your leg.

  38. PR Guy Says:

    BTW does anyone know where I can get hold of a copy of a speech made by Herr Schroder this week where I believe he was slamming the fiscal compact?

  39. Tullmcadoo Says:

    JC& S Adams,
    Interesting legal opinion. Have you taken a costitutional action?
    Have upward only clauses not been dropped from new leases?
    What proportion of legacy leases contain UO clauses?
    Why has your landlord not negotiated with you like other landlords?
    I note you share my view that we should vote no to the compact. I see it precipitating default and a way of cutting all legacy contracts by at least 50%- wages welfare rent etc. Exit from the collapsing euro will probably occur
    Btw, why not just declare insolvency and start again? Plenty of empty shops out there.

  40. Shay Begorrah Says:

    @Gavin Kostick and @BryanG are correct that Asmussen’s combination of reactionary politics and sacrificing economies to the confidence fairy is Scary stuff. and if anything they undersell it.

    Remember also that Jorge Asmussen is a member of Germany’s Social Democrats, not the CDU/CSU. The extremism of the German establishment position is difficult to overstate and it is a position that is also strongly established in the ECB - the most politically and institutionally dominant powers in the EU hold to reactionary and discredited economic theories.

    @David O’Donnell

    I’m still open to persuasion

    That silence is the sound of hard won academic reputations wisely being guarded but it is no harm to keep asking. (Dan O’Brien mentioned the purgative benefits of austerity on the Baltic’s again in his latest IT column when writing about the FC debate but readers seemed worryingly unpersuaded in the comments….)

    No one, other than among the most devout neoliberal cultists, argues that the Fiscal Compact should be ratified mainly on the basis of its economic logic. There are however a large number of people who believe, possibly correctly, that if Ireland rejects the Fiscal Compact and tries to highlight it for the steaming pile of toxic dogma that it is that we will be made a target for more German/ECB hostility and thus that ratifying the Fiscal Compact is a political necessity.

    As a result the Irish government’s referendum campaign will be short and fear based; a long discussion will not show the compact in a good light and though avoiding further punishment from Fine Gael’s EPP brethren in Germany is the compacts only potential benefit it is a brave politician who makes their rallying call “We must be timid and obedient” or “Ireland - at the center of Europe but also beneath it.”

    As well as those who worry that we can not hope to confront the German/ECB axis of austerity and win there are the EU Insiders. This interest group rightly fear that the public acknowledgement that the best that the collected governments of Europe could come up in the face of a global financial crisis was sordid German political maneuvering and dangerously flawed punishment economics is simply too appalling a vista to entertain.

    So that is what we are up against. Let us hope our current leaders delay the referendum and that the Spanish, French and possibly now Dutch do the dirty work for us. The EU economy and institutions have no hope of being fixed if the Fiscal Compact stroke succeeds.

  41. Ceterisparibus Says:

    @PR Guy
    I said watch them ( only)….yeh some is already priced in at 3.07% but if it emerges that Hollande is on his way to the palace then I figure it will spike further..but who knows. You would want to be brave (or foolish) to take the risk given the many variables. Greece hasn’t gone away..the power company is bust, the banks are bust after Fridays announcements of PSI losses and their rescue has been postponed. And that’s known knowable..as for Spain ?????

  42. DOCM Says:

    @ PR Guy

    Herewith link to the speech by Schroeder.

    http://www.social-europe.eu/2012/04/gerhard-schroeder-on-german-and-european-politics/

    He could not be said to be “slamming” the fiscal pact. He is simply advocating that it be complemented with a growth strategy. He also concedes that many of the criticisms made of his Agenda 2010 are justified (although he appears to attribute many of the failings to its misuse by employers).

    Schroeder is clearly re-enetering the political arena in Germany ahead of the federal elections. The approach he sets out is very likely to prove to be the European agenda for the coming years.

  43. John Corcoran Says:

    @tull

    I refer you to the Irish economy thread dated 2nd March 2012 headed “MyHome/Irish Mortgage Brokers Report by Karl Whelan.

    Also to the findings of the Moriarity Tribunal and the Mahon Tribunal. The Irish commercial property market is an organised cartel. The state colluded with the cartel, otherwise the cartel could not have existed. Many of the state’s landlords are politicans families, buddies and bagmen. Judge Moriarity stated in his findings against Ben Dunne a state landlord “What was attemted by Mr Dunne and Mr Lowry was profundly corrupt to a degree that was nothing short of breathtaking”

    The Mahon tribunal findings “political corruption in Ireland was systemic and endemic”.

  44. Tullmcadoo Says:

    JC,
    Time will tell how many of Mahon findings ever stand up in a court of law. You never answer any of the questions put to you , you just refer to the other postings.
    Eoin Bond raised a serous point . Effectively you are asking us a taxpayers to bail you out. Why should we do it. ? I am curious as to why you do not enter negotiations with your landlord or even enter some sort of administration?

  45. grumpy Says:

    Todays Colm colm gets 9 & 1/8th out of 10.

    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/colm-mccarthy-quinn-collapse-exposes-crucial-lack-of-scrutiny-3088179.html

  46. Tullmcadoo Says:

    Grumpy,
    I have a modest proposal. If such an enquiry finds any shortcoming on the part of executives, regulators, board members and auditors who have subsequently retired any retirement income be taxed so as to reduce it to the level on the non contrib OAP. By the way they would also be required to collect the pinsin in person.

  47. Colm Brazel Says:

    “Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance” plus ESM and imprecations, directives eg 3/60 rules eg

    ARTICLE 13
    As provided for in Title II of Protocol (No 1) on the role of national Parliaments in the European Union annexed to the European Union Treaties, the European Parliament and the national Parliaments of the Contracting Parties will together determine the organisation and promotion of a
    conference of representatives of the relevant committees of the European Parliament and representatives of the relevant committees of national Parliaments in order to discuss budgetary policies and other issues covered by this Treaty.

    they pander to fiscal rectitude, but they are a front covering up moral turpitude.

    Where’s the moral turpitude? Its hidden away in a Black Book we don’t get to see. How come we don’t get to see it? Well, partly because of clauses such as the above 13. Such clauses pander to ‘feelgood’, ‘participatory’ role of politicians groomed with clauses solicitating their involvement in the construction of a new Europe. But, it all a ponzi scam. the real deal is in the Enron like Black Book.

    What the heck is the invisible Black Book? :-)

    Well let me give you a few clauses/articles from it.

    1. Banks and financial institutions take precedence over politicians and parliaments in Europe.

    2. Democracies represent a real threat to the hegemony of the banks and they must be brought to boot with legislation such as ESM that realise 1.

    3. All debt must be insured and underwritten by politicians and parliaments in EMU. Members of the EMU must be made to capitulate to the rules and requirements of the banking sector.

    4. Growth must be made equivalent to austerity, but austerity must not be allowed to compromise financial institutions/banks who must be freed from austerity.

    5. Through LTRO and other measures, the security of bondholders and the banking sector must be made a prerequisite for growth expressed in a stimulus of the banking sector only.

    6. Fiscal transfers, eurobonds, or other measures, used to balance unequal asset balances between the core and periphery of Europe must be avoided as they are a threat to the financial sector in the core.

    7. Regulation of the financial sector must be avoided. Sovereign bonds, currency manipulation, manipulation of bond markets through CDS, OTC and other investment type financial instruments, must continue as they provide a greater source of asset/profit accumulation, than business type investment.

    8. Inquiries into the financial and banking sector must be avoided as the result of such investigation/regulation may lead to social disturbance and can threaten economic recovery (of the banking sector)

    9. Immunity from investigation and prosecution should be embodied into articles/clauses of current Treaties eg ESM eg ESM “[Article 30]: “Governors, alternate Governors, Directors, alternate Directors, the Managing Director and staff members shall be immune from legal process with respect to acts performed by them . . . and shall enjoy inviolability in respect of their official papers and documents.”

    10. The Irish ‘guarantee’ of its banking sector needs to be copper-fastened into a new EMU Treaty to bind members of the EMU, in the event of their wish to resist austerity, or their desire to default, to legally enforceable rules preventing their default and subsequent threat this would impose on the financial sector.

    11. A new order or level of control of the economic models of members of the EMU must be made subservient to the requirements/investment needs of the financial sector.

    12. Rewards, bonuses, salaries of those in the financial sector must not be restricted by austerity measures.

    13. A new ECB committee system empowered with new legally enforceable and binding rules for members of the EMU should encourage further consolidation of socialism for the financial/banking sector through the administration of the EMU with political colleagues sympathetic to the aims of the financial sector.

    14. No bank however odious its banking book or practices must be allowed to fail as such a failure is a threat to the global financial system.

    15. The Irish ‘poster boy’ model of no bank allowed to fail, freedom from investigation, prosecution and regulation must be exported to the rest of the EMU.

    16. No debt should be written off throughout the rest of the EMU.

    17 etc :-)

  48. Colm Brazel Says:

    @ Bryan G

    “3% to be hit by 2015. To me, “fully implement” means “fully implement”

    True, but we’re sent carrots like ‘negotiating the PN’s’. Similarly, in spite of evidence including slapdowns from Ollie Rehn, Noonan still tries to sell the notion of restructuring our debt obligations.

    So, what does “fully implement’ mean in terms of the spend that needs to be taken out of our economy next budget 2012? Has ESRI or anyone given even rough estimates taking into account depreciation in numbers at work through emigration/unemployment. Our deficit is down to 8.5% because of frontloading the fiscal brakes, so 2013 and 2014 anybody guesstimate on what extra will be taken out of the economy in a no growth scenario?

  49. PR Guy Says:

    @grumpy/Colm Brazel (and Colm McCarthy if you are looking in - good article in the Sindo today btw).

    I would suggest any investigation of the banking crash holds off until the second one happens - the one that will also bring the sovereign down …. then combine the two and we might get better value for our money (?)

    The situation is even more sinister than even Colm suggests above (and those rules only apply to some banks).

    It is clear to me that the agenda from the so-called Frankfurt Group - and I suspect, encouraged by the US - is to get banks in the peripherals to load up on as much (of their own) sovereign debt as possible (and being leant on to do so) while banks in the core are dumping it as fast as they are able. This is all going to end in disaster and the core are going to try to walk away from it, leaving the peripherals to their fate and some half-measures from the IMF to try and keep the fabric of society together in the peripherals.

    Re-engineer the situation to be an implosion rather than an explostion as it were.

    I (and you are advised to) really must get out of Ireland. It’s becoming clearer by the day. I would say that Greece, Portugal and Ireland are certainly doomed. Possibly Spain too. Italy may fall on the right side of the fence.

    Please feel free to suggest I am a swivel-eyed conspiracy theorist….. but I don’t think I am.

    Let’s hope ‘they’ don’t come and get me when they read this.

  50. Ceterisparibus Says:

    @Grumpy
    Intriguing bit of info in Shane Rosse’s article in the Sindo…

    “1. On Page 362 it reveals that the Central Bank of Ireland took a dramatic “floating charge” in the Bank of Ireland’s assets as long ago as February 2008. Why did it take such prescient action? Did it know something long before the night of the bank guarantee? Why did the board agree?”

  51. Ceterisparibus Says:

    @PR Guy
    You are very pessimistic today.
    Here a bit of news which, if correct, could be good news…

    From NYT
    “One French political blogger summed up the state of affairs and the style of jokes appearing in the Twitter thread:

    “In Canada, maple syrup from Holland is at $33 much more expensive than that from Hungary which is only worth $26,” he wrote in joking code meant to refer to the Socialist candidate, Francois Hollande, and President Sarkozy, who has Hungarian ancestry.”

  52. PR Guy Says:

    @Ceterisparibus

    “You are very pessimistic today.”

    It’s down to reading so many Sunday papers and realising what a massive cock-up a relatively small group of people are making of the world we live in!

    I will cheer up a bit this evening if I find out that Sarkozy didn’t even manage to come second in the voting or when I watch the beautiful Emilia Fox in ‘Silent Witness’ - whichever comes first.

    Did you know Hollande is often described as ‘gauche caviar’ over there?

    Even more funny (vis all things French elections) was the picture of DSK on the front of the ‘Sunday Times’ mag and the three word caption that went with it (Liberté, Egalité, Sexualité).

    See, I’m cheering up already.

  53. Colm Brazel Says:

    @ Ceteribus

    Murray Perahia might go down well with ye, as well as Emilia of course :-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZuklNdjCN4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qIkIglvZSo

  54. Colm Brazel Says:

    meant @ PR Guy

  55. PR Guy Says:

    @Ceterisparibus

    By the time I got to the Irish papers, this cheered me up no end. Some of them are just hilarious.

    http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/education/funny-exam-answers-3083481.html?ino=1

    @Colm Brazel

    Excellent! Not quite in the same league as the fragrant Emilia but excellent all the same.

  56. David O'Donnell Says:

    @Shay Begorrah

    The silence is fairly deafening alrite! Spose we might have to add a new chapter to ‘The Greatest Bank Heist in History’ with the unflattering title of The Poodles Who Dared Not Bark in the Dark Times.

    Intellectual bankruptcy.

  57. The Dork of Cork Says:

    @David
    “The Greatest Bank Heist in History”…….Bill Black , Guns & Butter interview in Italy a few months ago.

    http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/78274

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5ptS9q3X8s

  58. David O'Donnell Says:

    @The Dork

    Well I did, briefly, consider …

    The Poodles Who Dared Not Bark in the Dork Times ….

    @all

    Expect Nikki to become even more Vichy in next few weeks …. as he cozzies up to Marie.

    C’est Maintenant.

    I need a vacation …

  59. PR Guy Says:

    @David O’Donnell

    I haven’t read them but a French political analyst friend tells me he was really going for the ‘France is a white/christian country’ bit in his final two speeches before the first round of voting. Not so much cozying up, rather more like sticking a tank on her lawn.

  60. PR Guy Says:

    p.s. I wonder when Sarko says that some anon. person gave him an envelope full of dirt about Hollande and that for the good of France he has to reveal it? This week? Next week?

  61. Stanley Adams Says:

    @ tullmcadoo & Eoin Bond
    How exactly will it help the tax payer if J.C puts his 100 plus staff on the dole. Or for that matter any other otherwise successful company e.g. Harvey Norman, La Senza, Jane Norman, and Adams etc. None of these businesses signed a contract for the rents now being asked of them. The rents were hiked up at 5 yearly rent reviews. No business could have anticipated that the Irish commercial property sector could have become as distorted and/or corrupt as it has become with rents reaching stratospheric heights – third highest in the world, making it impossible even for the most successful business to continue. However your attitude concurs with government policy which seems to be hiking the rents up and driving them out of business. Then, bring in the pound, acupuncture and bargain book shops on short term tenancies or better still leave the shops empty. Anything at all but allow companies to pay market rent, as that might reveal the real value of the property. It would be useful if one of the economists on this site investigated this matter instead leaving it to the efforts of a man trying to run a business and then brushing him off as an irritant. There is a real world out there with real problems. You are right though tullmcadoo and Eoin Bond, it would be more convenient for the property industry agenda and the government if JC just shut up and went bust. Morality be dammed.

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