Leading article: Ireland's Yes drowned out by Spain

 

Share
Related Topics

The decisive Yes on the eurozone fiscal compact is meaningful enough for Ireland itself, signalling both a clear-eyed assessment of the country's debts and a commitment to its place in the single currency. It means even more for the rest of Europe, however. As the first to vote on the treaty, Ireland has set the tone.

The referendum is, then, another inch towards the closer union that is the only way to resolve the euro crisis. But each step forward is technically complex, constitutionally uncharted and politically fraught. And it is no longer just Greece that threatens to blow the whole precarious exercise off course. Spain, long a source of concern, is in danger of fulfilling the direst prognostications.

Madrid has not helped itself. The govern-ment's confused – and confusing – plan to recapitalise the struggling Bankia only added to jitters in the financial markets. Now, with bond yields soaring, questions are being asked about Spain's ability to bear the €100bn-plus of bad debts rocking the banking system and capital is fleeing the country at a frightening rate. A bailout from either Europe or the IMF is looking unavoidable, despite the repeated denials.

The Spanish Prime Minister has much to answer for. But his eurozone partners must also play their part. Spain's problems are more alarming than those of Greece because of the size of the economy. But they are primarily a banking crisis, rather than a question of government solvency, and are therefore easier to solve. Spain's deficit is well above euro-area targets, but since it rose so high only due to the financial crisis, it is up to Brussels and Berlin to relax the deficit-reduction deadline. A Europe-wide rescue scheme for struggling banks should also be expedited. And Mariano Rajoy must set out the full extent of Spain's banking losses, with a plan for putting the sector back on track.

Such measures are not easy, but they are possible. And without them, there may not be time for the fiscal union nodded through in Ireland to take effect.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Tony Abbott: A man most Australian women would like to pat on the back...iron in hand

Caroline Garnar
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea performs in California  

Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting

Yomi Adegoke
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there