German experts and analysts have an un-Irish capability of speaking their own mind... and when they do (and they do it anywhere, including when visiting this country of ours), they don't mince words. Behold the latest 'visitor' from the land of 'Nein!': Dr. Joachim Pfeiffer, the economic policy spokesman for the parliamentary group of the ruling Christian Democrats. Dr. Pfeiffer was in Dublin this week. Somewhere between a nice dinners and customary ritual of witnessing the Irish 'craic' in a pub, the learned Doktor sneaked a few minutes to tell us that "Ireland has “no chance” of securing a deal on its legacy bank debt" and that "the euro zone’s new bailout fund had not been established for nor would be it used for retroactive bank recapitalisation."
Quoted in the Irish Times: “There is no chance Ireland’s legacy assets will be paid by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). This instrument is only an instrument for emergency.”
R. Pfeiffer was in Dublin to speak at the German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the same Chamber that recently sponsored a cheerful book on Ireland & Germany being the best pals in economic and policy terms. The best pals, alas, do not help each other all too much, and one of them has no problem telling the other that 'your mess is your mess': "Dr Pfeiffer said the financial meltdown in Ireland “did not fall from heaven . . . there were bubbles in the real estate sector, there were bubbles in the banking sector and all of this was home-made”."
As to the reasons why ESM cannot be used for retroactive assistance to the Irish state, Dr Pfeiffer evoked the same logic that I advanced for some years now: "If the ESM was to be used retroactively to compensate Ireland, he said other countries such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and potentially Italy would want similar compensation."
Needless to say, Department of Finance immediately chipped in with a denial of denial that denial is possible as a denial. I am certain Dr. Merkel in Berlin was all ears...