In a hard hitting speech in the European Parliament, Marian Harkin Independent MEP for North and West accused the Council of Ministers of blackmailing Ireland by tying the ratification of the current fiscal treaty to access to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).
The North and West MEP spoke of how Ireland had kept the rules and been the model pupil yet keeping the rules had not worked for the country.
She said: “In Ireland we are told to keep the rules of the new fiscal treaty, it will eliminate the risk of future crisis and help solve the current one. Yet from 2002 to 2008 Ireland did not once break the rules of the Stabilisation Growth Pact, unlike others – so we know from bitter experience the rules don’t always deliver and certainly will not deal with the current crisis.
“In 2007, our debt to GNP ratio was approximately 30%. By 2014, it will have ballooned to 145% - no developed economy can survive those levels of debt. Ireland has just about survived four years of austerity. Our debt levels directly linked to bailing out banks in Ireland and in Europe are now simply unsustainable. Yet we are told that more of the same without any commitment to Eurobonds, Redemption Funds, or debt restructuring will solve our problems. It will not, and cannot and, given that our access to the ESM is tied into ratification of the Treaty, it is little short of blackmail.
“These are the hardest words I have ever said in this Parliament and I hope I will never have to repeat them. Europe can do a lot better than that, for itself and for Ireland”, Marian Harkin MEP concluded.