From Socialist Voice, December 2010

Break the connection with the euro!

The crisis surrounding the euro is causing growing instability within the European Union itself. The EU and the political elite here in Ireland—who actively and willingly carry out the policies and diktats of the dominant economic forces within the EU, particularly German finance capital—like to give the impression that they are fully in charge and can control all events and keep all the balls in the air; yet each new mechanism they establish for shoring up the euro creates further problems. Difficulties pile upon difficulties.
     During October and November they established the European Financial Stability Facility “to provide for swift and effective liquidity assistance, together with the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) and the International Monetary Fund, and on the basis of stringent programmes of economic and fiscal policy adjustments to be implemented by the affected Member State and ensuring debt sustainability.”
     At the end of November the Germans and French agreed to set up a permanent European Stability Mechanism. Its agreed aims state clearly: “Assistance provided to a euro area Member State will be based on a stringent programme of economic and fiscal adjustment and on a rigorous debt sustainability analysis conducted by the European Commission and the IMF, in liaison with the ECB.”
     The agreement between the European Union and European Central Bank, on the one hand, and the Irish Government and Central Bank of Ireland, called the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies, lays down the economic and financial policies they will carry through from the 2010 budget up to the end of 2013. These will be monitored by the EU and IMF, with both weekly and quarterly reports to be sent, describing in detail what has been completed, amounts saved, and the reductions in public services, to ensure that the public spending cuts are fully adhered to.
     The €85 billion of “loans” will be made up of €17½ billion from the National Pension Reserve Fund. For these loans they are demanding 5.8 per cent interest.
     The state has socialised corporate debt in the region of €140 billion, at a very conservative estimate, and placed this illegitimate burden on the backs of 4½ million people.
     All the talk about being “at the heart of Europe” if we voted Yes in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty was clearly a ruse, a clever trap for the people. The events of late November and early December have shown that the heart of the European Union is cold and dark. They are not concerned about the needs of the Irish people. Their priority is defending and propping up the euro, at all costs.
     If the cosy deal concocted in Brussels and wrapped and sold by the Government to the Irish people was to stabilise the euro and prevent “contagion,” the instability now appears to be unstoppable; and as Portugal and Spain move up the crisis scale the conjurers in Brussels look more impotent than ever.
     They may be able to cobble something together to hold Ireland in the euro, but it’s unlikely that the euro will survive what they call a “bail-out” of Portugal, never mind Spain.
     As the Communist Party pointed out when we opposed this state joining the euro, the state and the Irish people were handing over a central economic lever to an outside power in the form of the European Central Bank—the bagmen for European finance capital. The whole euro project was sold on the idea that you could go on your holidays to Spain and not have to change money—no more currency charges, and we were finally cutting the umbilical cord that joined us to England.
     All the EU treaties were sold on a pyramid of lies, half-truths, bullying, and coercion. We must now take back the power to decide our own priorities, take back economic, fiscal and political powers from the European Union, if we are to break the growing spiral of debt, mass impoverishment, and mass emigration.
     It’s time to break the link with the euro. We need to establish a currency that we have control over, and establish it at a rate that meets the needs of our level of economic and social development. This is a central step that needs to go hand in hand with the repudiation of this illegitimate so-called “sovereign” debt.
     The demands for the re-establishment of political and economic sovereignty are not “old hat,” nor are they some nationalistic anachronism, but central political demands and essential tools for establishing a progressive and socially just Ireland. They are the necessary building blocks required for building a planned economy to overcome the anarchy of capitalism.

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