IRELAND should be willing to give Brussels more control over the country’s fiscal and budgetary policy as part of any efforts to save the European Union, former Attorney General and EU commissioner Peter Sutherland has said.
The ex-attorney general said it was in Ireland’s ‘vital national interest’ to remain a supporter of European integration.
‘If the dilemma that Europe is facing at the moment is either to integrate or disintegrate, then we must firmly stand on the side of integration, even though that demands greater ceding of sovereignty in terms of control of fiscal and budgetary policy.’
Mr Sutherland, supported the Government’s stance on the need for a lower interest rate on out EU/IMF bailout loans, though he lambasted those who have argued for ‘burning’ senior bondholders or who have advocated default on the country’s debts.
‘We should stop seeing this (defaulting on senior bank bonds) as a panacea. We have to recognise that whatever the moral rights or wrongs of debt default, we can’t do it unless we’re allowed to do it.’
‘Default in respect of senior bondholders, who rank in law as pari passu (equally) with depositors, will raise issues which one would prefer not to address about the safety of deposits.’
‘Forget about the banks. We’re spending €8 billion a year on current expenditure over and above what we’re getting in’, he said. ‘We’re doing far more damage to ourselves by current over-expenditure than the total aggregation that the additional debt from our banks is causing us.’
He insisted that people who complained about austerity measures needed to take into account that a lack of such measures would ‘damage us even more’.The People’s Movement has launched a new pamphlet entitled The European Stability Mechanism and the case for an Irish Referendum (click on the title to access).