The European Fiscal Compact

As economic stagnation largely continues in the Eurozone a full decade after the onset of the global financial crisis, there is widespread agreement that the underlying structural problems in the design of the common currency need to be addressed. And while the Irish state is portrayed as the poster child for the EU’s austerity programmes, it is very clear that the recovery is limited. The figures are massively distorted by accountancy tricks by multinational corporations booking their profits in the Irish state to avoid paying their fair share of tax. More importantly, the Eurozone’s permanent austerity and the structural flaws in the design of the common currency mean the Irish state remains very exposed to future financial, debt and economic crises.

Since the crisis there has been a push to implant the failed and ideologically-driven deficit fetishism ever more firmly in the structure of the Eurozone – by creating new mechanisms to surveil and structurally reform the economies of member states, and to surveil and control their spending, taxation and borrowing through budgetary control. The political crisis is deepening, and the structural economic flaws in the Eurozone that caused the financial crisis to manifest in a double-dip recession and decade-long slump in Europe remain firmly in place. The ECB’s monetary policies, which have masked these underlying problems to a certain degree over the past five years, are running out of steam, and a new debt crisis in the peripheral economies is a distinct possibility.

Despite a ‘lost decade’ for the crisis countries in the Eurozone, the Commission, the ECB and the governments of the dominant member states of the EU appear determined to carry on with business as usual. They have redoubled their commitment to the Fiscal Compact debt and deficit straitjacket that strangles investment and growth.

They continue to ignore the damage caused to the peripheral economies caused by Germany’s massive trade surplus. And above all, they have failed to address the total lack of democratic accountability and control over the most important economic governance institutions in Europe – the ECB and the Eurogroup. The new Banking Union rules supposedly aimed at preventing taxpayer-funded bailouts have stumbled dramatically at their first hurdle in Italy this year, while at the same time we are seeing a new drive towards the de-regulation of the financial sector through the EU’s Capital Markets Union aimed at reviving securitisation and the shadow banking sector.

Aspects of the ECB’s monetary policies are promoting financial volatility and dangerous new asset bubbles. As such, I commissioned a discussion document to examine the following points:

· When can a monetary union work, and in what circumstances will it fail?
· The EU’s permanent austerity, and the failed ideology it is built upon
· Beyond the spin – the economic factors behind the Irish state’s limited recovery
· How can we reduce the risk of another financial crisis?
· The monetary policies of the European Central Bank – Europe’s unelected government
· What needs to change and how do we achieve it?

You can find it by following the link here – The future of the Eurozone

TTIP & CETA

Unfortunately due to the passing of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU Commission has competency to negotiate trade deals on our behalf. The European Commission has been on a mission of developing a new generation of far reaching trade agreements. This new generation of deals extend beyond removal of tariffs to include the opening of markets on investment, services, public procurement and the removal of all ‘barriers to trade’

These so called ‘barriers’ include important standards and regulations which will have dangerous implications for Irish farmers, workers and consumers.

The most worrying as[ect of these deals is the inclusion of  undemocratic investor courts which will allow companies to sue states in private international arbitration systems. The restrictions this investor court system will place on , public procurement,health policy, workers’ rights, environmental developments and food safety regulations, and many other areas is untenable.

Sinn Féin is prominently involved in the opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) the Canada Europe Trade Agreement (CETA) and any potential deal that includes investor courts. In fact, I have commissioned legal opinion which confirms that a referendum is required in Ireland to ratify CETA and TTIP.

Oppose Brexit Unite Ireland

There is a real and deepening concern as to how Brexit will impact on Irish businesses, farmers, tourism and on people who cross the border on a daily basis for work and education.

The prospect of a new EU frontier, stretching from Dundalk to Derry, is not acceptable. The uncertainty caused by the Brexit referendum result is already damaging trade and investment and causing currency fluctuations which are impacting on cross-Border business.

In the years since the Good Friday Agreement, the border has become all but invisible. Brexit seriously threatens that important progress and risks inflicting significant damage on the economy north and south.

The very last thing we need to see here in the border region is the re-emergence of border controls, customs posts and all the paraphernalia of Partition which had been banished with the peace process.

Any new restrictions on cross-border agricultural trade would be devastating for farmers, particularly in border counties.  Farming communities, North and South, have always worked together and that is the way things should continue into the future.

People in the north of Ireland – nationalist and unionist – voted to remain within the European Union.  For English votes to drag the north out of the EU against the will of its people would be a travesty.

I believe that most people are now coming to understand that the only realistic way to prevent the damage that Brexit will bring to our island is through reunification. Indeed, many people who have never supported the idea of a United Ireland are now beginning to seriously consider the logic of that prospect.

The issue and the logic of Irish unity has now come to the fore in a way that it hasn’t in many years. To have an island of 6.4 million people operating under two administrations, separate competing currencies, tax systems, and legal frameworks is lunacy.

Sinn Féin is campaigning for a unity referendum, as provided for under the Good Friday Agreement.

It is my firm view that the countdown to a united Ireland has begun.  We now need to prepare for that. I believe a serious debate is required and our call for a unity poll will facilitate this hugely important discussion for the Irish people.