Euro breakthrough imminent
This week, EU leaders will converge on Brussels and will more than likely give us the “breakthrough” that has been on the cards for some time now.
This is the week when Ireland, Europe and the world find out if the euro stays in existence.
If the leaders do not iron out a series of short term plugholes combined with a realistic and implementable set of long term plans, there will be a banking collapse that will see credit evaporate all over Europe.
That said, it is not all bad news. Despite certain countries’ poor credit management, the euro-zone regularly outdoes its British and American counterparts when it comes to the likes of growth, debt, currency stability, inflation, savings ratio and borrowing.
Our European institutions are in need of change and the task facing us is big but it is not all over bar the shouting on the euro.
The EU is essentially a social experiment; the biggest of any kind undertaken. It gives small nations a voice on the world stage and has kept us war-free since 1945. Every day is a learning curve even after 66 years.
Some outside influences and speculators would love a euro collapse and there would be a world where the US and China will control currency markets. Our leaders do get their fair share of criticism but they are by no means the worst around.
Our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, fresh from his “Difficult decisions are never easy” speech last night, will probably return from Brussels at the week’s end proclaiming fiscal union as a win for Ireland, when in fact it will be a humiliating episode that will stifle our financial independence.
However, it may be the lesser of two evils, as a collapse of the single currency and a return to a hugely devalued punt would be nothing short of catastrophic.
The EU has gotten things wrong but it is a young bloc. Youth will make mistakes, sometimes bad ones but it does not deserve to see the world’s greatest social experiment fail. Too much hard work and too many great leaders have tried to make this a success. The euro, the EU and Europe deserve to come out the other side together. Europe United.