One of the principal bits of leverage used by Brussels in the Brexit arm wrestle is the Irish border.
They do it by craftily using as a proxy Leo Varadkar the Republic’s Taoiseach.
No doubt Mr Varadkar would seek to characterise his unfriendly behaviour as motivated solely by loyalty to the EU. But I wonder. Could money be at least as important if not more?
From 1973 to 2013 the Republic was a net recipient of EU funding to the tune of more than 40 billion euros. Then in 2013 Dublin was able to begin making net contributions. So far around £1 billion. Not that much compared to net receipts of 40 billions but a start.
In 2013 Dublin received from the UK government the final tranche of the loan agreed in 2010. £3.2 billion to help out the Republic of Ireland (RoI) after the 2008 worldwide global financial fiasco. And also in 2013 Dublin just happens to start positively chipping in to the EU budget for the first time.
Just a coincidence or UK taxpayers’ money paying Ireland’s dues to Brussels?
Meanwhile so far only about £400 million interest on the big British loan has been paid back to us by Dublin but none of the capital sum of £3.2 billion. That total is due for repayment March 2021.
Soon the EU will lose UK’s £13 billion net contribution to its budget. With the German economy already slowing down, the rest of the EU not doing so well and the Euro under pressure, money in the EU will be very tight.
Ireland will be expected to step up and pitch in a lot bigger contribution than previously. Perhaps Mr Varadkar hopes helping Brussels play hardball might mitigate the inevitable increase in Ireland’s contribution.
The near future holds increased EU contributions by Ireland. About 40% of RoI exports go to UK, in some agricultural sectors 90%, where else but the British isles is a lot of cheddar eaten for instance?
These two factors certainly will hit the Irish economy.
Given that, you might think Mr Varadkar would be only too aware of potential difficulties coming up with a huge chunk of money in 2021 to settle the British loan and try to be nicer.
But RoI already gave notice of their priorities by paying back early the £1 billion loan to Denmark/Sweden while stating it has no intention of paying off the British loan early. Or late? Or at all?
In addition to the inter government loan Lloyds and RBS between them took £14 billion of the government money officially intended to bail out Britain’s own casino bankers but transferred them unethically if not actually illegally to their Irish subsidiaries.
That’s one pound in every five of the money from UK tax payers, a lifeline to the Irish economy and money we shall never see again.
Given this massive and open handed help from both British government and business to a friend in need you might think Mr Varadkar would reciprocate now by being helpful in our own strife with Brussels.
Far from it. Mr Varadkar clearly agrees with Stalin that gratitude is a disease of dogs. Instead of reciprocating he has done all he can to help Brussels hurt us. A man who bites the hand that fed as brutally as this him is capable of anything. So perhaps Westminster should lob Mr. Varadkar’s hardball right back into his court. Begin by asking, diplomatically of course, for repayment of the £3.2 billion right now.
No, no Leo. No suggestion of mistrust. Absolutely not. Purely as a gesture of good faith by you guys.
You know, just in case things are a bit tight in 2021 and £3.2 billion is a hard to lay your hands on. What with your dodgy economy and bigger EU dues and all. Aside from that it would also be a positive kindness for our government to point to Mr Varadkar, now before he gets in too big a mess, what he already knows.
That UK is a very important part of the Irish economy. Too important to jeopardise to please the Brussels big dogs who consider him as little more than a useful idiot from a small country far outside the Brussels power elite.
One that can be kicked to one side after it is no more use to them.
Davy Wight, Carrick