April 8, 2020
Eurozone funding cannot come with the austerity conditions of the past – Pearse Doherty

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has called on Eurozone Finance Ministers to agree an economic response to the Covid-19 crisis that supports a sustainable recovery for Ireland and our citizens. 

He has criticised proposals from certain Eurozone governments that would impose a second round of austerity and prolonged recession on countries accessing credit to fund their recoveries.

He said:

“The Covid-19 crisis is an international challenge that warrants an international response.

“If we are to respond to this crisis properly, we must make sure that adequate levels of funding are available without conditions.

“Last night’s meeting of Eurozone Finance Ministers ended without agreement on a common response to this crisis, but what’s needed is immediate action and significant investment; both to overcome the health emergency and to rebuild an economic recovery that serves workers and families.

“It is disturbing that certain members of the Eurogroup – such as the Netherlands – are determined to apply conditions that would amount to a second round of austerity and deeper recession for countries that access funding through the European Stability Mechanism.

“That is not an option.

“Access to the ESM in its current form involves a number of unacceptable conditions that would hamper recovery and lead to unnecessary hardship for workers and families.

“On the 23rd March, I wrote to the Minister for Finance to propose a European response to the Covid-19 crisis that would promote solidarity and ensure that debts accumulated to finance our response and recovery are serviced in a sustainable way.

“Firstly, access to the ESM must be available to States without any austerity conditions.

“Secondly, maturity on these loans must be stretched out over a suitably long period of time; e.g. 50 years or more.

“Thirdly, zero interest should be applied to ensure that debt repayments are sustainable.

“And finally, the scale of credit available to States must be sufficient to meet the challenges that countries face.

“This is essential – not just to fund health measures and support incomes in the short-term – but to build a recovery and an economy that delivers for workers and families into the time ahead.”

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