Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
There is no doubt the current Govt. has done it's utmost to close down all the options for its successor and that Ireland is in a much weaker position defaulting on Sovereign as opposed to private debt.

Nevertheless the issue of sustainability remains:  If the Irish economy goes into a death spiral in consequence of 4 austerity budgets in a row then default becomes unavoidable no matter how undesirable it may be.

No matter how you "package" it, we need a "stimulus" plan to complement the austerity measures and whilst I have no difficulty in cutting bloated salaries of senior politicians/civil servants and some appallingly inefficient administrative overheads the solution cannot be public expenditure cuts alone.

A rebalancing of the EU intervention - away from the ECB as the sole intervening institution - towards more active engagement by the Commission/Council supporting investment in infrastructural or green energy projects - in line with the Lisbon competitiveness agenda - and which could be funded by interest payments or regional/cohesion funds - would go along way to reducing the noxious effects of austerity and risks of default.

We have got to move away from the ECB being almost the sole EU institution involved in economic development - and return it to its proper, and much more limited role as a monetory authority and regulator - and tell it to do its own business better - i.e. regulate banks and hedge funds much more effectively.

It is the absence of an EU political vision and action programme that is the most striking since Merkel's rise.  It is almost as if the British eurosceptics have been replaced by Germans, and the other 20 odd members have gone AWOL.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 8th, 2011 at 10:40:06 AM EST
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I'll be very disappointed if Cowen doesn't get some fancy appointment to an EU institution or an international bank soon after he leaves government.

The desperation to lock in the successor governments doesn't make any sense otherwise.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 8th, 2011 at 10:59:29 AM EST
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Frank Schnittger:
we need a "stimulus" plan to complement the austerity measures
Isn't "stimulus" antithetical to "austerity"?

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 8th, 2011 at 11:09:22 AM EST
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being smart are we?

How about increasing the capital budget whilst reducing the current expenditure budget? At the moment everything is being cut to bits. Shifting resources from less productive to more productive activities is what businesses do all the time. Infrastructural and other investments which increase future productive capacity and reduce future operational costs (incl carbon energy inputs) should be a priority even Merkel wouldn't have a problem with.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 8th, 2011 at 11:16:58 AM EST
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