Independent Study Shows Ireland had 5th Highest Attendance at EU Council Meetings 2000 – 2010

The attached research paper Report on EU Attendance was conducted by Markus Johansson and Daniel Naurin of the Dept of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg and presented at the SNES spring conference in Uppsala 22-23 March 2011.

SNES (Swedish Network for European Studies in political science) is Sweden’s leading research network dealing with questions of European politics and governance.

The study examined 808 EU Council meetings between 2000 and 2010 and found that Ireland had one of the highest average Ministerial attendances at Council of Minister’s meetings, 5th out of the 27 member states.

The authors of the study argue that attendance is an integral part of EU engagement and reflects the priorities of the governments involved. Ireland’s position as 5th highest out of the 27 member states from 2000-2010 is a testament to Fianna Fáil’s committeeman to Europe and strong engagement

This exposes the hollowness of claims repeatedly made by Government Ministers and the Taoiseach that Fianna Fáil failed to attend EU meetings.

Is Government the Biggest Threat to a Yes Vote?

The next French President? François Hollande
(Photo taken from the Hollande Campaign site)

Though the early polls have been positive I am getting a sense that the No side may picking up some momentum as we near the May 31st polling date for the Fiscal Stability Treaty Referendum.

One of the main grounds for this sense of foreboding may indeed be the May polling date itself. I fear having the poll this early may prove the biggest threat to a Yes outcome for three reasons:

1. It allows no side to raise the prospect of a second referendum later in the year. The more astute and sophisticated side of the No campaign is starting to run an argument that goes as follows: We have voted twice on the last two EU treaties.In each case we have come back with a better deal the second time. This Treaty does not come into force until January 2013. We have the time to Vote No now and use the following months to go back and get a better deal and then Vote Yes later in the year. A late September polling date would have denied this argument to them

2. This Sunday see’s the first round of the French Presidential Elections, The Second roubnd of voting will be two weeks later at the beginning of May. While Sarkozy has had a good campaign to date and has closed the gap in the first round the polls there still suggest that Francois Hollande will win the Second Round by approx 55:45.Hollande is standing on recovery platform that rejects Sarkozy’s austerity plan and talks of renegotiating the Fiscal Compact,

While this position may be dismissed as a Gallic version of Gilmore’s “Frankfurt’s Way or Labour’s Way” – ie a promise that sounds good in the campaign but doesn’t survive past polling day – it does look like Hollande is serious. His determination to imeddiately set out a renegotiation the Fiscal Compact to include a growth programme, Euro Bonds etc has probably been strengthened by the attempts of Merkel and other Centre Right EU leaders to snub him.

We will be going to vote during the first days of a Hollande presidency, the background noise to ouyr vote to pass the existing threaty will be his moves to renegotiate that very treaty – almost making a farce of that vote. The politically astute move for our Government would have been to hold off until September and see if Hollande will make a difference.

3. The one great lesson learned from previous referenda, particularly NIce I & II and Lisbon I & II is that the public needs a longer run up/lead in period to tease out the issues. The traditional three or four week campaign has been found to be insufficient, particularly in the absence of “on the ground” campaigns.

Though polling day is about six weeks away there is little sign of that debate is starting yet. Will the Refendum Commission have the time to do the job? Based on the last referendums, it would certainly appear not.  The Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs had a thirty minute slot on RTE 1 last Saturday where he could have used 5/6 miinutes to explain why voting Yes is important. He didn’t. He chose instead to just give the poll a passing reference, 125 words in a script over 3100 words long. “referendum” featured only once in his script.

While the timing of the polling day is just one factor, it may prove a crucial one. The Treaty should stand or fall on its own contents alone. I am on record here as having my own qualms about the Treaty (see my post here on why I will be a reluctant Yes voter). The debate will be essential. This vote is not like others, we do not have a veto, we cannot delay or deny the progress of this Treaty by our vote alone. The EU has been horrendously slow to act to save itself from the start of this crisis. It has chosen the path of half measures over swift decisive action – usually at the behest of a Franco-German leadership that put domestic political considerations ahead of pan european ones. But we should not be blind to the developing EU real politik.

The appointment of Simon Coveney and Joan Burton as the Fine Gael and Labour campaign directors somehow does not imbue one with a sense of confidence. Coveney’s nomination does echo Charlie Haughey’s appointment of Paddy Lalor as Fianna Fáil national director of elections – a move that spurred the late Frank Cluskey to comment: “There’s confidence for ya”

Cowen Talks Ireland Up Seeking Inward Investment

The speech at Washington DC’s Georgetown University by former Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, has attracted some comment since it was reported last week in the Financial Times and Irish Times. Much of that comment has focussed upon just about everything about from its contents. It is a well drafted and cogently argued analysis of the crisis that befell both Ireland and the EU and well worth reading in full: Speech By Fmr Taoiseach B Cowen – 21.03.12

Given the venue and context it is evident that this was meant as a low key, considered and informed contribution and not as a political foray. While I think it will, in time, be seen as an important analysis of the situtaion from 2007/08 onwards. I also think it is important to note how the former taoiseach took the opportunity present to talk Ireland up and to touts for business and investment for Ireland. This is particularly evident in the final paragraphs of the speech:

“I believe Ireland is one of the best locations in the world to establish and to grow a business. This is not just rhetoric but is reflected in the rapid on-going overseas investment which is occurring in Ireland. Ireland is not just open for business but as, I believe, any independent assessmentwould indicate it is among the best places in Europe to start and grow an international business. This will ultimately pay off for our citizens. Indeed all of the fundamental strengths which prior to the crisis meant that Ireland had one of the highest growth rates of GNP per capita among advanced countries for a very long period are still in place and in many respects our advantages have improved in terms of increased cost competitiveness.”



I Don’t Like The Fiscal Compact Treaty, But I Will Still Vote Yes

My thoughts on why I am not impressed with this Fiscal Compact Treaty, but why I will vote for it and urge others to vote Yes too.  

A few nights ago I was on the cusp of penning a piece as to how it was possible to be a committed pro European and still urge a “No” vote at the forthcoming Fiscal Compact Referendum.

My reasoning broadly ran as follows.

  • While the Fiscal Compact does contain some important measures that would have addressed the fiscal problems that others, not Ireland, had experienced in the run up to the crisis – it effectively does nothing about the core issue facing the EU and the Euro: the dysfunctional European banking system.
  • The EU Council and Commission have wasted over two years taking pointless half measures that tinker about with the symptoms of the problem while studiously ignoring the core problem: the banking crisis.
  • This fiscal compact is just the latest in a series of well intentioned, but minimalist attempts to assure the markets that it ready to address the crisis. Like the others it will fail.
  • What the EU needs now is a short sharp shock to jolt it into effective and decisive action. By decisive action I mean tackling the banking and credit crisis head on and bolstering the role of the European Central Bank to become the lender of last resort.
  • Ireland can not only deliver that shock by rejecting the Fiscal Treaty as inadequate and lacking substance, but it can take the lead – particularly among the smaller, peripheral nations – in demanding that the Commission, particularly President Barroso stop acting as the servants of the French & German governments and get the EU back to being a Union of countries that work together, in partnership and in solidarity for our mutual benefit.

That was my broad theory.

It is not heresy or anti European to say that the Fiscal Compact Treaty does not address the biggest problem facing the economies in both the EU and the Euro.

The point is not that the Fiscal Compact goes too far – it is that it is too one sided. It addresses a secondary problem – not the primary one. It almost completely omits the measures required, specifically on the ECB, to tackle the real problems facing us all.

As I was writing the piece I realised that while I still fully believe in points 1 – 4 the reasoning underpinning Point 5 was fatally flawed.

Ireland rejecting the Fiscal Compact will not be seen as us rejecting it as a half measure. It will be seen as Irish petulance. We have thrown down the gauntlet before – on Nice 1 and Lisbon 1 for reasons that most in the EU failed to grasp.

The Taoiseach and his Ministers have shown not the slightest interest in showing Leadership at the EU Council or of building any consensus among the smaller peripheral countries.

Rather the Taoiseach has been content to roll over and have his belly tickled (metaphorically – I hope) by the big two, and hope that no one will ask him any difficult questions.

He has consistently underplayed his hand for the past year. Stories that talked tough and banged the table at his first Council meeting yielded nothing. Since then he has been content to keep his head below the parapet. The same applies to Eamon Gilmore.

There is nothing to suggest that either are capable of building a consensus across the EU. The reality is that neither have attempted it. Their antithesis to travelling to meet other leaders or hold bi-laterals here is mind boggling, especially when you consider how they howled in opposition that the last Government was allowing Ireland’s reputation to slip.

None of this augurs well for Ireland’s forthcoming EU Presidency, but that’s another story.

Those pointless rejections of Nice 1 and Lisbon 1, are now coming back to bite us. Those who urged us to say No then, are once again in the vanguard urging us to Vote No once more. Their reasoning has not changed. They are as Eurosceptic and anti European as they ever were.

Saying No now would be seen as biting the hand that feeds us – even when that hand has been making a few bob from what its been doing.

Worse still saying No would not gain anything by saying No – except to put ourselves in some undefined limbo beyond the revised European Stability Mechanism. Whereas our saying No in Nice 1 and Lisbon 1 held up the process of ratifying those treaties, saying No now will halt nothing.

We have no veto. We have no bargaining chips on this one. There is no point in threatening to pull the trigger when everyone else knows we have no ammo in the chamber.  UCD’s Dr Ben Tonra makes this point very clearly in an excellent post on the politicalreform.e page here.

The conclusion is that we must pass the Fiscal Compact treaty and then use that passing of the Treaty to build a coalition of smaller countries across the EU to tackle the real problem facing us.

I would love to think that saying No would urge the EU into actions that are long overdue. The sad reality is that it will not.

So, just like the French Socialists who were compelled to vote for Chirac in Round Two of the 2002 Presidential elections, rather than seeing Le Pen slip through, I may be taking a disinfectant mat with me to the polling station as I vote Yes.

I want a better treaty. I want a treaty that tackles the real problems. This treaty itself even acknowledges the need for a further treaty.

If passing this one is the price we must pay to get to that point – then let us do so – and quickly.

To burn bondholders or not to burn them – is there a third option?

Is it any wonder there is so much confusion about what to do with the bank bondholders?

Less than twelve months ago (February 10th to be precise) Leo Varadkar was saying:

Any bank coming to us looking for more money is going to have to show how they are going to impose losses on their junior bondholders, on their senior bondholders, and on other creditors before they come looking to us for any more money. Not another cent.”

That was before the General Election. Eight months after the election; the now Minister Varadkar had changed tack and was saying:

What’s happening in relation to the Anglo bondholders is they’ll be paid from Anglo’s own resources, from the sale of its own property assets, for example.

By last weekend the line had developed further. On Sunday he was  says that the Government “had to weigh up the costs on the one side and the risks on the other.” and that not paying the €1.2billion of Anglo bonds due this Wednesday: “…would have implications for other State companies like ESB and Bord Gáis,”

It is probably a littler bit unfair to single out Minister Varadkar like this. He was saying pretty much what everyone else was saying in FG during this period. His skill and talent was that he said it more directly and concisely than almost any of his colleagues. It is what makes his quotes more memorable.

Whatever about the changes in the Fine Gael script, two bigger truths have not changed over the past year. The ironic part is that these truths are contradictory.

The first is that the ECB is still holding to its line that bond holders should not be ‘burned’. By that they mean that bond holders should not be forced to accept any reduction in the monies due to them.

The other is the reality that there is a very active market in bonds being sold off at a discount in return for hard cash. These discounts can be fairly hefty, particularly where those bonds have a tasty coupon included.

This trade in bonds was touched upon at a recent seminar on the issue of offset debt, hosted by Thomas Pringle TD and how it could ease the plight of those in negative equity.

Some bond holders are deciding, in their own business interests, to mitigate their losses and sell bonds at a discount. Their rationale is that a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush: a not uncommon business approach.

They sell the bonds on to vulture capitalists who buy the bonds at a 30, 40 or even 50% discount. They retain the bonds face value, and so, they stand to make a hefty profile when the bonds are paid off.

While bondholders may choose to do this, the ECB says they must not be made to do it – except in the case of Greece, but let’s put that to one side for the moment.

This leaves a classic Catch 22. Investors, speculators and traders are selling bonds between each other at varying hefty discounts, with the prospects of making even bigger profits.

It is one thing to say that bond holder’s rights should not be ridden over and allow the market to function, but telling European taxpayers that they should not enter the open market and offer to buy back those bonds, is another.

Its like signing an IOU and watching it being traded among your friends for less than its face value, but being told you cannot dare attempt to buy it back: even if the guy currently holding it would be willing to sell it to you.

Ireland cannot do a solo run and give two fingers to the ECB, but it needs to start canvassing opinion around the EU table to start looking at this issue again.

The noises coming from the new Belgian government, coupled with the prospect of a new occupant of the Élysée Palace come the summer suggests it may be a route worth exploring. Something, perhaps, for the Taoiseach to consider as he heads to Brussels?

Enda’s State of the Nation fails to Inspire

An Taoiseach’s national address was well intentioned but badly executed. 

To his credit; from the moment he became Taoiseach, Enda Kenny has shown that he realises the importance of talking to people. He has demonstrated regularly that he knows the job of Taoiseach is not just the traditional one of government Chairman or Chief.

He understands that it is also that of the “confidence giver in chief”, particularly at times of crisis like this. The person who tells the rest of us what is happening and how he and his team have a plan to get us through the difficulties.

Television has not been his friend. Neither have the formal set pieces: Ard Fheis speeches etc. He has been more comfortable in informal situations, particularly those where his words and message are delivered unmediated: live to a flesh and blood audience.

For all these reasons, last night’s TV “Address to the Nation” was going to be a big ask. The fact that it was billed as the most important address he would ever give, the “speech of his life”, did not help.

In the event, the speech did not succeed in achieving its desired result.

A speech is not about offering a litany of facts and figures, it is about putting across a clear message. The Taoiseach acknowledged this truth in his address saying that he was “outlining the Government’s strategy.”

The pity is that while this may have been the aim, the content and delivery failed to convey any sense of strategy or coherent plan.

The address should not just have been another element of the package of budget speeches: but an opportunity to set out a vision of where we are going and how we can get there together.

It could have been a vision of the kind of Ireland the Taoiseach wants to see in place by 2016, the centenary of the Easter Rising and an exposition of how he sees us achieving that.

Instead of the expected “state of the nation” we got a curiously cold and passionless presentation that omitted both vision and purpose. A bland party political broadcast that seemed, in part, to be an attempt to explain both why The government was now implementing policies it had opposed and why it had abandoned promises made only nine months ago.

It was less an “address to the nation” and more an apology from the leader of Fine Gael.
As the Taoiseach and his advisers are now starting to realise there are some very obvious risks with such addresses.

The expectations were high.

People expect to be better informed and maybe even more confident after the broadcast than they were before. Looking at the online commentary as I write this, I do not see this being the emerging consensus. Most politically unaligned posters appear to be seeing the address as a “wasted opportunity”.

But there are other risks too. The leader comes on TV to say that things will get better… but, they don’t. As a consequence we lose faith in them.

The other worry is that the Leader comes on TV to say that things are even worse that he had suggested they were… the opposition have a field day using his own words to attack him and his popularity plummets

Though I have no firm evidence for thinking this, I believe that these were the two of the key factors behind Brian Cowen’s reluctance to make a similar address in 2008/2009. The one issue Cowen would not have had to address if he had chosen to make such a speech then is the crisis facing the EU and the Euro.

In my view the Taoiseach made a mistake in not devoting more of his script to this crucial issue. Not only did the EU section amount to less than 10% of the total text, the section was bland and failed to seriously address any of the issues facing us.

In other EU countries they are talking of having “less than a week” to save the Euro. Within the coming days we will learn more of the Merkel/Sarkozy plan to fundamentally change how the EU and the Euro function, but here our Taoiseach reduces the matter to almost an afterthought in his keynote address to the nation.

It kind of sums up the whole exercise, well intentioned, but poorly done.

Twitter:  @dsmooney

Why current crisis is more political than economic

My latest Evening Herald column from August 8th 2011 – you can also see it online: here


Euro Parliament Committee Room - Bxl

Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Clearly, no one has told the economists this.

In any other walk of life — architecture, dentistry, cake decorating — people run away when they see failure or disaster looming.

Not the economists. They embrace disaster. They revel in it.

As soon as a crisis looms they rush to the TV camera and the microphone to say how they predicted it.

They take a pride and pleasure in being associated with doom and failure that would do your heart good, if the consequences were not so dire for the rest of us.

In the wake of last week’s market turmoil, the weekend papers and discussion shows were full of economists doing what they do best.

Switching between the radio stations on Saturday and Sunday mornings was like playing some demented radio five-card stud — I see your dollar bond collapse and raise you an Italian bailout.

The Sunday newspapers were as bad with even more dire predictions of either the collapse of the euro or the dollar, or both.

We are living in uncertain economic times … and will be for some years to come. No one needs to tune into the radio to learn that.

This is a major culture shock for many, though not for those of us who lived through the Eighties … and no one wants to see another decade lost to despair and inactivity.

But I digress. So why have we seen renewed predictions of crisis this week? They do not seem to have been prompted by the publication of any eurozone statistics or hard figures.

Neither could they be reasonably explained away as just the result of a global slow news day.

While they may, in part, be due to the outworkings of the American debt ceiling compromise, the giveaway is in the word most often employed by economists in describing the crisis: confidence.

We have seen share values drop and bond costs increase over the past week because market analysts and investors do not have confidence in the capacity of eurozone countries to deal with all the debt in the system.

Could these possibly be the same investors who were protected from massive losses in banks and bad investments by those same governments?

Ironic, isn’t it? Eaten bread may be soon forgotten, but never with anything like the speed and hypocrisy with which socialised private losses are forgotten by the markets.

It is tough to make someone have confidence in you, particularly when you have not got much confidence or trust in them. But wringing our hands in anger on this won’t make the problem go away.

As I said earlier, the past week’s scare does not have its origin in a spreadsheet. It is fundamentally a political issue; not an economic one.

The real danger for us is that the dramatic actions and reforms the market is demanding in return for their “confidence” would be deeply unacceptable to people here and across the Eurozone.

This is the almost impossible balance that the eurozone leaders are trying to strike. To make the changes just about needed to gain market approval without totally alienating public opinion at home. The political spectre of Brian Cowen must stalk their deliberations.

Not that the eurozone leaders merit much sympathy. Merkel and Sarkozy’s slowness to act decisively in the early stages of this crisis has cost us all. Their dithering and loose talk threw Ireland to the market wolves in a futile attempt to stem the tide at no cost to themselves.

Their recent reforms to the European Financial Stability Fund have been more carefully judged, though these will take a while to work their way through.

Meanwhile, the next time you hear an economist demanding firmer and more determined actions, just remember that translates in higher taxes and higher charges for you and yours.

– Derek Mooney

How politicians helped redeem themselves by taking on the big guys

My Evening Herald article is online Here

Saturday July 23 2011

JUST by coincidence, I happened to be passing through Brussels this week.

From the window of my hotel room near the Schuman roundabout, I could both see the European Council building and hear the sirens roar as EU heads of government arrived for the emergency EU summit.

From the the TV in the background I could hear and see the continuing fallout on BBC World news from the hacking scandal, while on my laptop I read and listen to the deserved praise being heaped on the Taoiseach for his speech on the Cloyne scandal.

As these three separate news stories competed for my attention it began to dawn on me that these three very different events have a common thread: how politics can work and how politicians can make a difference when they reflect the public mood.

In the case of the News of the World hacking scandal we see the politicians finally recovering their sense of confidence and self worth and shedding their decades of deference to one media mogul.

In the European Council decision we see politicians taking bolder and coordinated actions to exert some meaningful control over Europe’s economic destiny and shunning the cautious advice of bankers or ratings agencies.

In the case of Enda Kenny’s Cloyne speech we see a political leader not just standing up to Rome, but finding his voice calmly and forcefully telling it some home truths and reminding it how much it has lost its way.


By their actions and words, across these three events, public representatives have helped redeem the profession of politics somewhat by taking on three of the most powerful interest groups: the Church, the banking sector and the media.

This is no renaissance for politics, but just a timely reminder that politics and politicians can rise above the cynical and do good.

While the common thread in the three events is the primacy of democratic politics, it is no harm to reflect on how much further Enda is along the road of telling the Church its role and place in modern society than David Cameron is in his attempt to break this news to Rupert Murdoch and News International.

Nonetheless, this should not stop us taking a leaf out of Westminster’s book and, just as the MPs did with the Murdochs, bringing senior churchmen before a public hearing of a Dail Committee to answer questions from the people’s chosen representatives.

Just over a year ago the Papal Nuncio refused to appear before a committee considering the report of the Murphy Commission.

Let us test the water now to see if the Vatican and the Nunciature think they can sustain this refusal to answer for their actions.

As Fergus Finlay said, the Taoiseach’s Cloyne speech has set the bar high.

It follows on from Brian Cowen’s hard hitting speech responding to the Ryan Report and Dermot Ahern’s declaration following the Report of the Murphy Commission that a “clerical collar will protect no criminal”.

To quote Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”

Enda has taken that tide and the Cloyne speech will help establish a political legacy.

However, while he is entitled to enjoy the coming few weeks as the speech continues to reverberate, he should make a quick call to a certain former Taoiseach in Drumcondra to discover how quickly the sheen on his real achievements in the Good Friday Agreement can be dulled by harsh economic realities.


Enda needs to apply the same clarity of language and and certainty of approach to tackling the economy that he has found in tackling the Vatican and Catholic hierarchy.

The new measures agreed by euro leaders at the emergency EU Summit may just afford him such an opportunity — but he needs to take this particular tide soon and not squander the opportunities it affords.

Germany lectures us on debt — forgetting the lessons of its own history

Here is my column on Germany forgetting the lessons of its own history from the Herald (Tuesday June 28 2011)


Signing the London Agreement on 27 Feb 1953 (Pic via:
Signing the London Agreement on 27 Feb 1953
(Pic via:

The media has been full of hourly reports of how the Greek debt crisis has the capacity to send the global economy back into the doldrums.

The Greeks, and by extension, the Portuguese, Irish and Spanish have had to endure tough lectures from France and Germany about the need for austerity.

The German government has been particularly forceful in delivering these lectures. Its leaders tell us their taxpayers do not want to subsidise bloated public sectors or unproductive workers across Europe.

And who could blame them? It is understandable that German workers do not want to pay extra taxes to send money across Europe, even if it is in the form of a loan with generous interest payments attached.

Understandable … but only if you have a short memory and disregard the history of the past century.

An economic historian at the LSE, Prof Albrecht Ritschl, has pointed out that the worst debtor nation of the past century is not Greece, it is Germany — and by a wide margin too. Worse still, Germany is denying to Greece, Portugal and Ireland the precise remedies it needed to rebuild itself. Twice in the last century, after WWI and WWII, Germany has ran up levels of debt that would make the Greek crisis look like a bad night at a mythical Tipperary Casino.

The cost of Germany’s 1930s debt default was as significant as the 2008 financial crisis. A default they were forced into as they could not repay the debts and war reparations set out in the Versailles Treaty following WWI.

This was the result of the rest of the world doing to Germany what Germany and others in the EU are now doing to us. Tons of new debt (in Germany’s case it was war reparations) were heaped on top of existing debt thereby draining the German economy of the ability to rebuild itself.

By the end of WWII, the rest of the world had learned a lesson. It recognised that lumbering a devastated and demoralised Germany with more debt was not a workable solution.

In the 1953 London Agreement on German External Debts, the Allied powers did the exact opposite of what the German and French governments are doing today. They wrote off half of Germany’s total mountain of debt and gave it additional time to repay the monies it owed.

It was thanks to the foresight and generosity of former enemies that West Germany was able to deliver the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) of the 1950s.

This was a deal negotiated between leaders who had learned from the mistakes of the past and could see beyond the political demands of the next election, particularly Germany’s own Konrad Adenauer.

Remember, also, that one of the occupied countries owed money by Germany was Greece. Those protesting in Athens remember that their parents and grandparents had to forego the compensation owed to them.

How galling must it be for them to take lectures from the current German Chancellor on the virtues of paying your debts?

And, in case anyone thinks this is all reaching too far into the past, think again. According to Prof Ritschl, Germany defaulted on one of the conditions of the 1953 London Agreement as recently as 1990.


It is a sad indictment of the current German leadership that it cannot see that denying others the tools that it required to rebuild itself is only storing up trouble for the future.

It does not take a Konrad Adenauer or a Willy Brandt, however, to recognise that Germany’s economic fortunes are so closely intertwined with the other eurozone countries that if part of the eurozone falls, Germany could flounder.

So, even if heeding the lessons of history cannot bring Germany to realise the current policy is not working, self interest just might.

– Derek Mooney