With Greek chaos apparently presenting some analysts with a chance at comparative between Greece (belligerence) and Ireland (compliance) paths to 'salvation' in this crisis, one can point to two key observations these comparatives commonly miss:
- Ireland's case was different from the Greek case: we complied with the EU/ECB dictate concerning private debts of a failed bank to private lenders. Not sovereign debts of the state to official lenders. To refresh some memories, Greece did default on (restructure) its sovereign debts to private lenders as a part of PSI. It is now on the verge of defaulting on sovereign debt to state/official lenders.
- Ireland's case for pushing harder for resolution of debt overhang does not involving a direct sovereign default (a unilateral refusal to pay on state liabilities), but rather a case for orderly cooperative writedown of the legacy bonds created by restructuring (at the time - unilateral - may I remind the readers) of promissory notes. This is crucially different from the Greek case which implies default on general government bonds across the entire swath of these obligations, not a well-defined targeted sub-set. Furthermore, Irish liabilities at play are held within Irish institution (the Central Bank), while Greek liabilities at play are held outside Greek institutions (the ECB, ESM and IMF). Finally, there was no question raised in the case of Ireland defaulting on IMF debt. In Greece, that portion of debt is now at play via the Greek Government proposal for debt restructuring published earlier this week.
Last, but not least: if anyone think it is 'crazy' or 'dangerous' to talk about the potential 'hard-ball' tactics or 'pressure' negotiations, here is a refresher from that tool of the markets: the WallStreet Journal that outlines for Ireland the case that Irish Government has failed to outline: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324590904578289921520466036.