To be honest, I would welcome closer fiscal union. Merkel is right - we need more europe, not less.
The only problem is getting this new magic treaty she wants passed.
Sarkozy ensured that the Irish are now so pissed off with the EU, getting that treaty passed in this country will be an absolute nightmare. We also remember the last time when France and Holland were asked to vote on the draught EU constitution. They said no. A number of other states, including the Czech republic, held up ratification of the Lisbon treaty. Dare I say it, but if Lisbon had been put to a referendum across Europe, it would have been defeated in almost every western European country.
The current situation has not been helped by the fact that Ireland and Portugal have been held to higher standards than Greece. The feeling is here in Ireland that by sticking to your program, meeting all your targets, and generally being the good boy in the EU class, you are rewarded with the ECB insisting you must pay every single bank bondholder, even unsecured ones, of debt which the Irish state is under no moral obligation to repay. Meanwhile, if you riot, strike, roll back on the commitments you made, and generally stamp your feet and make a fuss, you get another loan, and half of your debt cancelled.
Ireland and Portugal also had to fight tooth and nail for a cut in the Interest Rate when it was simply given to Greece.
These are serious considerations - there is a feeling that there are two standards, that the ECB backed us into a corner by forcing us to guarantee not only bank deposits but also ALL
bank liabilities (of private banks) by threatening to withdraw credit to Irish banks, forcing the Irish Finance minister of the time to enact the famous Bank Guarantee. He was said to be so ashamed, that it hastened his death from pancraetic cancer.
People will not forget the battles that have had to be fought, or that the flow of cheap money from being part of the Euro inflated the Irish property bubble to begin with, and rightly or wrongly, they are pretty pissed off right now and in no mood to pick over yet another EU treaty. We are not really in any mood to be spoken to by our own government either. Just today, the latest in a string of cuts to capital projects (two new underground rail lines in Dublin, a new Motorway linking Dublin to the North west, and a new one linking Cork to Limerick) have been cancelled. This is infrastructure we badly needed, and we were hoping for some form of stimulus to kick start growth. But sadly not - we get more growth killing austerity which just prolongs our agony.
Passing this treaty will be next to impossible. And not just in Ireland. The mood is ugly.
I have to conclude that only Germany giving into the inevitable and allowing the ECB to become the lender of last resort will fix this situation.
After that happens, and when the furore engulfing the continent dies down, will it be time to talk about treaty change and closer fiscal union.
For now, the people are in no mood for this conversation.