(Apologies for the appearance, it was formatted in Word, hasn't copied at it originally appears)
PREFACE: The objective of this petition is to request the Union to compensate the citizens of Ireland for the damage caused by the negligence of the EU Institutions (including the ECB, the European Commission and the European Council) in the performance of their duties relative to the euro.
RELEVANCE: ARTICLE 2 OF THE TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION:
The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.
ARTICLE 3 OF THE TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION:
1. The Union's aim is to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples.
3. The Union shall establish an internal market. It shall work for the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. It shall promote scientific and technological advance.
It shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child.
It shall promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States.
ARTICLE 10 OF THE TREATY ON EUROPEAN UNION:
3. Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen.
ARTICLE 41 OF THE EU CHARTER – RIGHT TO GOOD ADMINISTRATION:
1. Every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the Institutions, bodies and agencies of the Union.
3. Every person has the right to have the Union make good any damage caused by its Institutions or by its servants in the performance of their duties, in accordance with the general principle common to the laws of the Member States.
CONTEXT: Because of the failure of the Eurozone countries to agree on the necessary central controls, the Euro was fundamentally and seriously flawed in its design, should not have been launched without those controls.
The problems that subsequently arose in Ireland were foretold in an article by Belgian economist Paul de Grauwe from the Financial Times in 1998 in which he wrote:
‘Suppose a country, which we arbitrarily call Spain, experiences a boom which is stronger than in the rest of the euro-area. As a result of the boom, output and prices grow faster in Spain than in the other euro-countries. This also leads to a real estate boom and a general asset inflation in Spain. Since the ECB looks at euro-wide data, it cannot do anything to restrain the booming conditions in Spain. In fact the existence of a monetary union is likely to intensify the asset inflation in Spain. Unhindered by exchange risk vast amounts of capital are attracted from the rest of the euro-area. Spanish banks that still dominate the Spanish markets, are pulled into the game and increase their lending. They are driven by the high rates of return produced by ever increasing Spanish asset prices, and by the fact that in a monetary union, they can borrow funds at the same interest rate as banks in Germany, France etc. After the boom comes the bust. Asset prices collapse, creating a crisis in the Spanish banking system.
Too far-fetched to be realistic? The US monetary union provides many examples of such local booms and busts followed by financial crises that lead to large scale bail-out operations. Scenarios of local booms and bust, as the one just described, will almost certainly happen in the future euro-area. The essential ingredient triggering such crises is the existence of regional differences in rates of return on assets coupled with the fact that in a monetary union banks can borrow at the same interest rates’.
Well, it did happen in Spain, but it also happened in Ireland. Within eight years all that de Grauwe had foretold came to pass and as a result, the Irish people have been burdened with a bank debt of nearly €70bn (per Namawinelake blog July 8th 2012: AIB/EBS €20.7bn; Bank of Ireland €4.7bn; Anglo/INBS €34.7bn; Irish Life & Permanent €4bn; NAMA contribution €5.6bn) - that’s over €15,000 per individual, a totally disproportionate burden loaded on the Irish people.
We have been failed by those who designed and launched the euro; we have been failed by those whose duty it was to oversee that currency, who allowed the hundreds of billions to flow unchecked from one area of Europe to another, who failed to monitor the impact this was having on those economies; we have been failed by those whose duty it was to find a fair and equitable Europe-wide solution to the problem.
FALLOUT: Due to those institutional failures the Irish people are now faced with austerity measures which have led to emigration levels unseen since the Great Hunger of the 1840s, unemployment levels whose true rates are reduced by the level of emigration and deliberately disguised by the numbers on various government schemes, mortgage arrears which are now at crisis point, increased incidence of suicide, reductions in supports to the most disadvantaged in our society. All this is quantifiable; what can’t be measured is the impact all this is having on the human spirit, the loss of dignity – there is no misery index.
SUMMARY: In contravention of Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, the imposition of this burden has seen a marked reduction in the levels of human dignity;
In contravention of Article 3.1 of the Treaty on European Union the imposition of this burden has promoted a marked reduction in the well-being of the Irish people;
In contravention of Article 3.3 of the Treaty on European Union the imposition of this burden has worked against the sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth – the devastation caused by the euro has seen a marked imbalance developing (and still growing) in Europe;
Additionally, and again contrary to Article 3.3, there is increased unemployment and reduced social progress, a widening gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’; with the deliberate and repeated targeting of the most vulnerable in Irish society, there is a reduction in social justice and protection;
Far from there being ‘solidarity between generations and protection of the rights of the child’, the legacy of this crisis in Ireland is debt-slavery to Europe for generations as we are forced into paying a debt that was never ours;
In final contravention of Article 3.3, promoting ‘economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States’, the selfishly ordained actions of the major European so-called ‘core’ countries are promoting a return to the kind of dangerous nationalism the original EU was established to combat, the demonization of Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy, the characterisation of those peoples as being somehow lesser beings, feckless, lazy, corrupt, contrasted then against the glorification of those in that so-called ‘core’. As for solidarity, when this crisis struck it became every man for himself, the bigger and stronger countries dictating everything, Ireland bullied and coerced into accepting a Memorandum of Understanding that in truth amounted to a bailout only for the euro and for the major European banks at the expense of the Irish people, who in fact got a bail-in – not a cent of debt writeoff but actually the opposite, debt piled on debt;
In contravention of Article 10 of the Treaty on European Union, from the outset of this crisis major decision after major decision has been taken without any consultation with the Irish people; we have been burdened with this bank debt without ever a vote, without ever a choice;
In contravention of its own rules which stipulate that Emergency Liquid Assistance (ELA) can only be used temporarily, be provided against adequate collateral, and be issued to illiquid but solvent institutions, on the back of PromissoryNotes which were never presented to the Irish Parliament for approval, the ECB allowed the Central Bank of Ireland to issue €30.7bn to Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society at a time when both were zombie banks, were not systemic to the Irish banking system.
In light of all the above, and citing Article 41.3 of the European Charter as quoted on page 1, that ‘Every person has the right to have the Union make good any damage caused by its Institutions or by its servants in the performance of their duties,’ we now petition this body to have this burden lifted, then shared fairly across the entire Eurozone but also, shared fairly with those whose billions helped fuel the crisis.
PROPOSALS: These are our three proposals:
1. To the ECB: Write off the €28.1bn in sovereign bonds currently held by our Central Bank in lieu of the Promissory Notes (€25bn + €3.1bn for the 2012 note), Notes that were issued in 2010 to cover a flagrant abuse of the Emergency Liquidity Assistance fund when €31bn was pumped in to two already insolvent institutions, Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society, abuse the ECB itself approved;
2. To the EU: Through the ESM, restore to the Irish Exchequer a) the €3.1bn already destroyed on the basis of those Promissory Notes, b) the €20.7bn taken from our National Pension Reserve Fund to bail out those banks and c) the remaining €12.2bn or so borrowed from the various emergency funds to bail out the Irish banks.
3. To the EC: Propose a measure to impose a levy on the finance industry that will see the billions their recklessness has cost the peoples of Europe restored to those balance sheets, perhaps that levy going directly to the ESM for redistribution to those countries affected.
The first proposal will ease the long-term bank-debt burden and help end the debt-slavery of future generations to Europe;
the second will ease the current situation, give us money to invest in job-creation and thus enable us grow our way out of this recession;
the third will force retribution from those whose recklessness caused the crisis.
We thank you in advance for your forbearance, this petition has been prepared without expert advice; we thank you in advance also for considering this petition and trust that it will get due consideration and receive a favourable verdict.
We have attached to this petition a series ofletters from a representative selection of those who march with us, letters that represent more eloquently than any set of statistics the effect the euro-launch and the subsequent consequent series of events has had on the people of this country.