Tuesday, 21 February 2012
European Council Meetings
Micheál Martin (Leader of the Opposition; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
The debate is on the issue of austerity. I agree with the need to balance and get revenue and expenditure in line. However, the real issue is why I asked whether the Taoiseach has raised the issue of broadening the role of the European Central Bank at these meetings and the need for fiscal union in its truest sense, not a narrow fiscal balance agenda but a fiscal union which means a transfer of funds from some states to others. This is the definition of a true fiscal union.
Regrettably, European leaders have failed over the past 15 months to deal with the core issue that could move us onto the definitive route to resolution. Last night's Greek deal does not do this. If anything it just copperfastens the role of Greece as the driver of uncertainty in the eurozone. My concern about last night's deal is its sustainability because Greece will end up at approximately 120% in its best case scenario, which is even worse than any of our worst case scenarios. The issue is that of sustainability. Stimulus is needed, but only Europe has the wherewithal to create this type of stimulus and bring resources to create jobs throughout the eurozone.