Mick Wallace So #Biden will start as #Trump left off - continuing to impose 'collective punishment' on the people of #Venezuelahttps://t.co/9gtWc2M5Yw
Mick Wallace #EU wants to talk about Western backed protesters in #HongKong where - unlike #US - police have killed no protester… https://t.co/0NaZRH0LxN
Mick Wallace RT @wallacemick: Very significant amendment for us to win - by just 2 votes - Tax Havens are largely responsible for helping to enshrine po…
Mick Wallace RT @wallacemick: #EU - Latin America gig talked about reducing inequality + overcoming #COVID19. During a pandemic one would expect all cou…

efsfThe European Financial Stability Facility and Euro Area Loan Facility (Amendment) Bill 2011 was before the Dail on Wednesday September 21st. The EFSF was set up in June 2010 to assist Euro Area countries who find themselves locked out of the international markets. The EFSF issues bonds on the market to raise the funds needed to provide loans to countries in financial difficulties such as Ireland and Greece. These  issues are currently backed up by guarantees of up to €440 billion given by the Eurozone Member States. Mick argues that the money available is no where near the amount needed to support the countries who in time will need it. He goes on to discuss the implications of the facility as well as the deepening financial crisis across Europe. As expected, opposition concerns fell on deaf ears and the bill passed through the Dail. The full speech is outlined below while you can watch it live here.

Members will vote on this EFSF proposal and while I am not an economist, if anyone on the Government benches is interested in having a bet with me on whether it will work, we can meet outside to put down a wager, as I do not believe it will. Having started with 17 countries in the eurozone, three have been bailed out, which means the other 14 will guarantee borrowings for three. When that number increases to four, only 13 will remain to do so. This group could then fall to 12 countries and could eventually fall to just ten countries. I do not see how it will stack up in the long term and cannot envisage its survival. Moreover, I do not believe many people in Europe can envisage it working out either. I wish to cite a small piece from today’s edition of the Financial Times by Peter Spiegel that discusses this very topic. He wrote:

The sum of €440bn was intended to “shock and awe” financial markets ... in May 2010 during the first Greek crisis. The EFSF has since evolved from a temporary set-up to help small peripheral countries into a multipurpose firefighter to assist large banks and bigger eurozone economies such as Italy and Spain. Most analysts believe it is too small for the tasks it will soon be called on to perform. Because increasing the size of the fund has proved controversial in many creditor countries – particularly Germany, Finland and the Netherlands – senior officials have tried not to discuss options publicly for fear of spooking parliamentarians who must approve the new powers...

The hurdles to increasing the fund are not just political. For some countries, bigger contributions to the EFSF will add ... pressure to their already strained public finances. Daniel Gros, director of the Centre for European Policy Studies think-tank, estimated that under some scenarios, the EFSF – and its successor, a permanent agency called the European Stability Mechanism – would have to be as big as €4,000bn.

Given the Italians owe €1,900 billion and realisation is slowly dawning that Italy’s position is much worse than had previously been known and that, in recent weeks, matters have begun to unravel for French banks, developments in Europe have amounted to sticking plasters. No real solutions to the financial crisis that is swamping the whole of Europe have been put in place. The reason the Germans, who are the kingmakers, have been sitting on the fence to an extent is that they cannot make up their minds as to whether they really want a European Union that is a fiscal union. Such a union is coming down the tracks if the Germans choose it. Their alternative is an exit from the euro and they are yet to make up their minds as to which option to choose. Either way, the idea that Ireland will retain much financial sovereignty is pretty fanciful at this point.

The transfer of private banking debt to sovereign debt, with three years of deflationary budgets across Europe, has proved too much to bear. For some reason, Ireland does not seem to be interested in being active, rather it is reactive. Things happen to us, not because of anything we are doing but because something happens elsewhere in Europe which has an impact on us. We have become the victim of the impact of other serious matters in Europe. However, we are not doing anything ourselves or making anything happen. We are not dealing with our problems. What has been done for the domestic economy? I run wine bars and coffee shops, while my son runs clothes shops, and the system is failing. The amount of money in the pockets of those coming through the doors is decreasing. That is what austerity does. We have to invest, as what we are doing is not working. We are draining the system. That people will have more money in their pockets if it is constantly taken from them is akin to taking blood from a patient and thinking he or she will be well afterwards.

Not just Ireland but Europe also will eventually do a U-turn on the austerity philosophy. In the past few weeks the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve in America have rethought the matter and are starting to turn. The world economists with the highest stature, Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, have been shouting from the rooftops for three years. Unfortunately, the neoliberal agenda has kept their philosophy out of the equation up to now but eventually we will listen to them and start doing things their way.

Reforms are required in countries throughout Europe, including our own. The issue of waste needs to be tackled. A lot of things have got out of control and it is only right that we sort them out. However, that does not make the austerity package introduced by the Government right, as we are hitting the most vulnerable in society.

On SNAs, I listened to the Taoiseach this morning as he tried to defend the situation at St. Senan’s and it was hard to take. He is economical with the truth and how he uses words. I will give him credit for the way he does it, in the sense that he is crafty, but there is no honesty. I have spoken to many of the parents and met the children involved and what is happening is draconian. Children with SNAs who were in mainstream classes are not attending them this year. They were progressing at a fantastic rate and the parents were delighted with them. Now, however, they are back at square one and regressing. I know the Government inherited a poisoned chalice from the previous Government which destroyed the place. However, surely it must believe the primary purpose of any Government is to look after those in society who most need our help, but that is not happening.

We will vote on the Bill, but I am sure it will be passed because the Government has the numbers. However, it will not mean an awful lot in the long term because it will not work.

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Namaleaks is a project that seeks to uncover possible injustice and poor practice related to NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) and financial institutions in Ireland.

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