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10/04/2012 12:00:00 AM


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Address by H.E. Mr. Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament

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Address by H.E. Mr. Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament

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Address by H.E. Mr. Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament

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Snippet Contents:

I often hear expressed in the so-called creditor countries the common view that Ireland mismanaged its internal affairs, made mistakes and is now looking for other people's hard earned money to correct those mistakes. A mixture of economic and moral sentiment is expressed. During a recent conversation I had with a German economist he pointed out to me that the German translation of "debt" is the same as that for "guilt", which I found interesting.
There is no doubt but that mistakes have been made in this country. We have made mistakes and are working to correct them. However, the interpretation that Ireland is looking for aid is incorrect and is damaging to the solidarity of Europe and Ireland's ability, as a modern, developed society and economy, to help Europe get out of the current crisis. The following tells an interesting story. Ireland will borrow €67 billion from the troika. To date, Ireland has poured €64 billion into failed banks, which, in my opinion, should never have been given a penny. This €64 billion is the equivalent of the German people being asked to put one trillion dollars into a failed banking system. When, during a recent interview for a documentary exploring this issue, I put this to a German journalist his response was, "There would be revolution". This is what Ireland has done thus far. It is likely we will do more. The banks have, in return, given this money to bondholders. This numbers in this regard are, again, very interesting. Some €124 billion of senior debt was held by the banks when the State guaranteed it. In Greece, there was a 50% write down for senior bondholders. President Schulz is a business man, having run a bookshop for many years. He knows that when a bankrupt company is taken over the new owner meets with the company's creditors and debts are written down. This is standard practice.
What one gets when one knits the three aforementioned figures together is interesting: €67 million is being borrowed from the troika, virtually all of which is going into the banks and almost the same amount is being given by the banks to the senior bondholders in terms of forgone losses. This is what has happened: there has been a €67 billion circle of money from the troika through Ireland to the international banks and investors. I have spoken to many people about this and have, as I am sure have President Schulz and other Members of this House, read many opinions on it. I have yet to read an opinion which says that this was morally or economically correct. Yet, it continues to happen.
On Monday, we paid another €1 billion to senior bondholders of a bank which would have gone bankrupt.