Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Supposing we had never joined the EEC?

Posted by Jason O on Apr 7, 2011 in European Union, Irish Politics

I met someone recently who gave out yards about the EU and France and Germany, and suggested that we would have been better off if we had never joined the EEC. This got me thinking: What would Ireland be like if we had never joined?

Would we have had a banking crisis?¬†We never would have joined the euro, and so would not have had access to as much cheap money to borrow, so we would not have had a property boom to the same degree. But aside from the sheer volume of money, the same rules that got us to where we are today would have applied, and don’t forget that, contrary to popular opinion, much of the money borrowed came from British banks outside the eurozone. Nor is Ireland the first country to have a property bubble. Our interest rates would have been higher, if we had an independent currency, and this would have slowed growth and also restricted borrowing. Overall, we’d be a poorer country but probably without as big a bank debt burden as we have now.

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