Eurobonds Mean Total Surrender

Article excerpt

Byline: by Mary Ellen Synon

THE same question comes up again, but this time about Eamon Gilmore: is he ignorant or is he dissembling? Yesterday morning, just hours after the informal meeting of EU heads of government ended in Brussels, the Tanaiste was on Morning Ireland to spin the line that something new for growth had come out of the otherwise pointless meeting: so-called 'eurobonds', which would pool the sovereign debt of the eurozone countries.

Mr Gilmore said: 'I think the idea of eurobonds being on the European agenda at all, if you go back six months, wasn't even being thought about or even being conceived of.' Wrong. Eurobonds have been on the European agenda in some form or another for more than 40 years.

In 1970, there was an official European document called the Werner Report which called for 'the instruments of economic policy to be harmonized in the various sectors'.

In the 1990s, eurobonds were on the agenda by way of the Giovannini Group, which advised the European Commission on capital-market developments related to the euro.

Then, according to Richard North, a historian of the EU, in 2009 the Commission again discussed the idea of 'common issuance' in the EMU@10 report.

And last November I sat in the press centre at the European Commission and listened to Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the Commission, launch his plan for 'stability bonds', the public-relations-invented title he decided to give to eurobonds.

So the idea of eurobonds is nothing new. Yet Mr Gilmore claimed that 'if you go back six months, [the idea] wasn't even being thought about or even being conceived of'.

We have to ask: are we sending a Tanaiste into negotiations in Brussels who is that ignorant of the history of the decades-long drive towards European economic and monetary union? Whatever, all that came out of that meeting of impotent prime ministers (and one progeny-untested new French president) on Wednesday night was indeed yet another push for eurobonds.

Mr Kenny showed a remarkable ignorance, too, about eurobonds. When he was asked about them on Wednesday night - this was after diplomatic sources had already made it clear the Irish Government was in favour of eurobonds - the Taoiseach said: 'We should explore what it actually means.' But what it actually means has been clear for a long time, and emphasised repeatedly these past months by German political leaders. There is nothing significant that needs 'exploring' - the deal has been out there for years. Here's the deal. …