The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Rare Good News from Europe

Here’s some good news from across the pond that a lot of Americans will like. Ireland is once again preparing to return international debt markets for the first time since 2010. For the Irish government, the timing is good; as the FT notes, Ireland could use the money:

Dublin has so far pumped €64bn into its banks. The Irish government is pushing to have as much of this debt shifted from the shoulders of Irish to European taxpayers by attracting new funds from the ESM. It hopes this type of financial restructuring could reduce its national debt from about 117 per cent of gross domestic product in 2013, to below 100 per cent of GDP, making it more attractive to investors.

Dublin is scheduled to exit its €67.5bn EU-IMF bailout programme at the end of 2013 and needs to begin raising funds this year to cover an €8.3bn bond payment due in January 2014 and its budget deficit. The issuing of treasury bills is the first step in a phased re-entry to international bonds markets planned by the NTMA over the coming months.

We haven’t heard much lately about the financial crisis in Ireland, and in this case, no news has been good news. Unlike some European countries, Ireland has been very quiet as it worked on the problems inherited from the real estate and financial bubble. Irish leaders worked hard to cut government spending and reduce the country’s debt to a more manageable level. It has been a tough few years in Ireland as employment and wages fell well below their pre-recession peak, but these sacrifices seem to have provided the investor confidence the country needs to recover.

The Irish made plenty of missteps during the boom. Their bank bailout plan was huge one, and it was very poorly worked out. But since then they’ve done a lot of things right, and it’s good to see that, even in the European Union, things sometimes get better.

Published on July 3, 2012 5:00 pm
  • thibaud

    This is good news for the US, too.

    Some more good news, from the coal country. Put a lump of (US) coal in your investment stocking:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-02/europe-burns-coal-fastest-since-2006-in-boost-for-u-s-energy.html

  • Kris

    “Here’s some good news from across the pond that a lot of Americans will like. Ireland is once again preparing to return international debt markets for the first time since 2010.”

    YES! Hallelujah! Many millions of Americans have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to once again buy Irish bonds! :-)

    thibaud@1: “Some more good news”

    I’ll say. The US is switching from coal to cleaner gas, but those nice Europeans are helping the American coal industry by buying ever more of the stuff. Less pollution in America, “subsidized” by more of it in Europe. Talk about special providence!

  • thibaud

    As a wise but very not nice European said, “There is a special providence for drunkards, fools, and the United States of America.”

  • Jim.

    @thibaud-

    I didn’t know WRM was European, I thought he was from glamorous Queens. And you’re being a little harsh with him, calling him “not very nice.”