A former European Commission advisor has described the EU’s ‘bullying’ treatment of Ireland, particularly Germany, throughout the financial crisis as “outrageous”.
Philippe Legrain – who was personally headhunted by Commission president Manuel Barroso – also said that the eurozone has been built along German lines. “The Commission has failed in that it has been much too keen to align with Germany,” he said.
“It was outrageous of Germany, the European Commission and above all the ECB to threaten to force Ireland out of the euro if it did not follow through with that foolish guarantee, lumbering Irish people, who have already suffered enough from collapsing house prices and a sinking economy, with a €64bn bill to bail out bust banks, €14,000 for every man, woman and child,” said Mr Legrain.
“Ireland’s partners abused the fact that it desperately wanted to be part of the euro”.
“The State must use any leverage it can to negotiate a write-off,” he said. “Its best weapon is any proposed changes to EU treaties – because Ireland constitutionally has the right to hold referendums on these changes and can use this as a bargaining tool.” Any decision that Germany really wants which requires a unanimous decision from all member states could be used as leverage, he said.