In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett, TD for People Before Profit/ United Left Alliance, said that the message from the weekends G8 meeting and recent comments by the ECB which emphasised that Greece should remain in the Eurozone exposed as empty and hollow the threats directed at countries like Greece and Ireland suggesting they had no choice but to accept the endless austerity demanded by the Fiscal treaty.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said Greece was calling Europe’s bluff and it was working because Europe’s real interest in Greece or Ireland was the protection of the Euro and the European financial system.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said that Europe’s climb-down before Greek resistance demonstrated clearly that Ireland has the leverage to say NO to the Fiscal treaty without fear of being denied funding or pushed out of the EU.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The G8 meeting and the comments of the ECB confirm that the TROIKA will do everything in their power to prevent Greece’s exit from the Eurozone. This is what all the frantic maneuvering to keep Greece within the fold clearly illustrates. And if that is true for Greece, it is equally true, maybe more so, for Ireland. There is simply no way Europe would cut-off funding from Ireland in the event of a NO vote because they know such a move would be the beginning of the end of the euro.
The powers that be will move mountains and seas to make sure that Greece does not exit the Eurozone, because if it does the entire EU financial system will take a tremendous blow from which it may not recover. Spain would possibly become the next to crumble and the biggest losers would be the banks.
All of this shows that Ireland has the leverage to say NO and that all the blackmail and bullying of the Irish public by the government is dishonest and hollow.
The G8’s emphasis on a jobs strategy for Europe represents a sharp departure from Merkel’s insistence on slashing government spending. Obama’s statement that jobs must be the number one priority flies directly in the face of the austerity agenda that has been pursued by the EU over the last four years. Merkel’s only companions in the EU now seem to be our own Fine Gael and Labour government. It makes no sense now to sign up to the austerity agenda contained in Merkel’s treaty. Even Germany has postponed ratifying it!
Greece has already ratified numerous austerity agreements and the Fiscal Treaty itself. These were shoved down Greece’s throat with threats that it would be denied funding. Far from improving the situation for Greece these austerity agreements are what has brought Greece close to disaster. The lesson for Ireland is obvious: it is false to think that funding for a second so-called bailout would be denied to us if we reject the proposed austerity Treaty. That’s because the European banks would be the biggest losers if funding is not provided when and where it’s needed.
We must ask ourselves to what extent the threats given to us by this government -who may as well be Merkel’s personal mouthpiece at this stage – are in any way credible. The TROIKA’s fear of contagion if Ireland is not funded – regardless of how we vote on the austerity Treaty – means that Ireland has enormous bargaining power which can be used to demand a write down on the illegitimate bank debt. It is inconceivable that our government does not recognize this – they do. They simply don’t have the guts to stand up to Merkel, even now when everyone is calling her out on the failed austerity strategy.
It is clear now that Merkel has become isolated. Across Europe the message is being forced by people into the heads of leaders that austerity must end. The statements by the G8 summit are a belated recognition of what we on the left have been saying for years: jobs must be prioritized in order to regain economic growth. Slowly the message is getting through but a NO vote is vital if we are to continue to hammer that message home.”