Invitation: Dublin Launch of Legrain Book

All are welcome at the Dublin launch of Philippe Legrain’s “European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right” on Tuesday 6 May at 1800h, the launch to be by Senator Sean Barrett at the Long Room Hub in TCD.

For a flavour of Philippe’s book, read his article on the eurozone’s flawed crisis response in the international edition of the New York Times.

The Independent has also published an exclusive extract from the book.

European Spring is available on Kindle for £2.99  and for £10.16 in paperback.

13 replies on “Invitation: Dublin Launch of Legrain Book” interview with the author.

There is, however, another way of looking at what has transpired in relation to the euro crisis to that outlined by him.

Is it a prospect too terrible to contemplate that the elite instigators of the euro project, who knew from the outset that it was a political and not an economic undertaking, were right in their assessment that it would lead to closer integration and bind the states adopting the euro together irreversibly?

Or maybe the real difficulty is that they underestimated the need to explain and gain popular support in the event of a currency crisis occurring?


Is it a prospect too terrible to contemplate that the elite instigators of the euro project, who knew from the outset that it was a political and not an economic undertaking, were right in their assessment that it would lead to closer integration and bind the states adopting the euro together irreversibly?

<SIghs> Starved prisoners locked in a cage are more likely to gang up one each other as they fight for scraps rather than develop a deep and lasting sense of community.

The Euro has been an economic disaster, the fact that it had a political justification is neither here nor there (the collectivization of farms in the USSR had political motivations too but you will find few voices defending it on that basis now). Neither political will or elite determination can make the Eurozone as it is constructed now a succesful policy or justify the damage it has done. You do understand that people are suffering horribly because of the Euro and that many have died unnecessarily?

Now the Euro is a dificult to unwind failure, no one denies that (and it may be your idea of a politcial success). This does not mean that the nations trapped in it now have more shared interests than under a workable system.

I was listening to a radio show a day or two ago that touched on this topic and again I heard “light touch regulation” blamed. That certainly had its place in the causes, but I realised that “heavy touch regulation” has ultimately done more damage.

Imposing the costs of the failed banks on citizens of a state rather than on the bank’s creditors is a regulatory decision, as were most of the other decisions he mentions.

Perhaps a late realisation, but still.

Two links of interest.

On the supposed “bullying” of Ireland, to quote Olli Rehn, the business of running the EU is not a morality tale. Neither is it a kindergarten.

Assuming that Philippe Legrain is not a naif, the central point is that the narrative that he is putting forward has become a political hot potato which no politician in Ireland can afford to let go of. The business of the EU is handling such potatoes of which there is no shortage in any member state of the EU, Germany included. As its ambassador pointed out in the exchanges with Legrain, Germany is not acting out of altruism but because it is in the interests of Germany to do so. Ditto the actions of other countries, including Ireland. Waving advance meaningless and childish vetoes would not to be advisable in the case of the latter.

I attended the book launch and enjoyed the discussion etc. I was happy to hear Philippe say that Ireland should have played hardball on the bank debt and advised the government to toughen up with their dealings with europe on this issue. He specifically advised if their are any more treaties that needs an Irish yes vote–then make it conditional on dealing with the bank debt.

I had already done this during the Fiscal Treaty in May 2012;

John Corcoran Says:
June 1st, 2012 at 5:05 pm
Firstly I would like to thank BBC radio which allowed myself and Paul Krugman to simultaneously address the people of the UK and Nothern Ireland and advocate a No vote. Unfortunately if the joint broadcast had been a day earlier I feel it might have been a swing factor.

We have thrown all our gambling chips away and betrayed our fellow european neighbours who are struggling with austerity. Raymond Crotty must have turned in his grave when the result was announced. We betrayed Raymond as well. In a country that elected the corrupt Charles Haughey and continues to vote Michael Lowry to top the poll it is of no great surprise. The most sophisticated electorate in the world–what a joke. The logic was simple if you vote No you get two votes –if you vote yes only one. Two is greater than one. Simple maths.

The train has left the station for Ireland and we have our bank debt forever tied to our throats. The oligarchs and their fellow travellors who frightened our people into buying vastly overpriced houses etc used the exact same tactics to frighten the voters into voting for a disastrous deal for Ireland. The soft landing professors and the other useful idiots did the rest. A sad day for Ireland. We betrayed ourselves and our fellow europeans.

The No people –fought the good fight–finished the course–kept the faith.

Both myself and Philippe have an M.Sc. Economics from the London School of Economics

@ JC

Swing factor? The Fiscal Treaty vote was carried by a 60% 40% majority which, in such a voting context, constitutes a landslide.

The Irish electorate is seemingly not persuaded by the arguments advanced that it vote no irrespective of what a treaty contains – even stipulations that might be of benefit – as a supposed means of exercising pressure for a concession on banking debt. As Richard Curran pointed out in his interview – accurately – this equates to throwing one’s toys out of the pram and the fact that Legrain advances it as a piece of supposedly credible advice causes one to raise a question about the rest of his analysis. This is equally true of the associated advice to veto EU decisions which call for unanimity for reasons unrelated to the substance of the matter under discussion.

When you’re fighting,the media,the soft-landing economists and FG/FF its impossible to win—just like the property bubble.


Have you, and others, considered the possibility that the reading by a large majority of the voting population of the situation in which the country finds itself might be correct?

Or, as the Sunday Times puts it in the opening sentence of its leader today;

“Cynics who suggested that the troika partners were the best thing that ever happened to Ireland, since they brought a level of management to the business of politics we have rarely seen in this country, have been proved correct”.


I led a deputation to meet the Troika early last year and informed them there was an organised cartel in the Irish commercial property market which the state colluded with, and bankrupted the country.
On the front page of today’s Sunday Business Post there is an article entitled ” FAS paid 5 Million euro to exit Baggot St Lease”.
Please read this article.

Mr Haughey’s bagmen and all the corrupt Irish politician’s bagmen are state landlords.

The Troika colluded with the politicians and supported this cartel.

How did the Nyberg Commission miss the elephant in the room;

Commercial Property lease lengths in Finland 3 Years
Commercial Property Lease lengths in Ireland 35 Years.

@ JC

I am not disputing, nor have I ever disputed, the points you make with regard to UORR. I am attempting to address the wider management of the crisis (of which it, admittedly, forms a part).

There was no change in political culture with the change in government. Rectifying this cannot be the responsibility of anyone other than the Irish people. It is politically convenient for politicians to search for scapegoats outside the country. Whether this is justified on the basis of an objective consideration of the facts is another matter. I do not think that it is other than in respect of the change in context which occurred during the course of the handling of the crisis at the level of the EU i.e. actions that can now be, and have been, taken at that level were not available when the case of Ireland was being dealt with. This has been reflected in an easing in the overall terms of the bailout but nothing so far on the issue of bank recapitalisation.

All that one can say is that the debate in Ireland often appears to me to be rather academic, in the pejorative sense of the word. Advocacy for scrapping the whole thing and starting again may be an entertaining – and to my mind rather hubristic – intellectual exercise but it is no more than that.

Meanwhile, the action in the real world continues.

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