Ireland’s government went hat-in-hand to the European Union for a bail-out. Irish voters reacted to the humiliation by destroying the government parties. (It’s the wonder of parliamentary systems–you can get snap elections and essentially wipe out errant political groupings. If only we could do the same!)
The new government wants better terms on the bail-out. Germany says yes–for the right price.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny rebuffed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conditions on easing bailout terms, setting up a clash as European Union leaders struggle to break a deadlock on tackling the debt crisis.
Kenny, arriving for his first summit as Ireland’s leader, rejected Merkel’s position to harmonize the corporate tax base in the euro region. Greece has already dismissed selling state- owned land to cut debt, her other prerequisite for reducing the cost of rescue loans.
“I’ve come here in two days in government with a very strong mandate from the Irish people,” Kenny told reporters in Brussels today. Late yesterday, he said, “I would not support any adoption of a common corporation tax rate.”
Prime Minister Kenny may believe he has a mandate from home, but the mandate that now matters is in Brussels. And his fellow leaders, many of whom face electoral flak for supporting bail-outs of Greece and Ireland, don’t have much incentive to give any favors.
Maybe the Irish people now wonder why they went along with the Lisbon Treaty, which increased the EU’s powers. It took two votes before they said yes, but if they had stood firm the folks in Brussels wouldn’t be quite so filled with themselves.
Still, the basic problem is the bail-out. If you wreck your economy and ask politicians and bureaucrats elsewhere to give you a hand-out, you have to expect a few unpleasant conditions. Especially when you are dealing with the likes of Godmother Merkel.
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