Brian Hayes MEP today questioned European Commission officials about its role in Ireland’s bailout programme during a European Parliament review of their actions during the bailout. The debate took place in the Budgetary Control Committee during a discussion about a European Court of Auditors report about bailout programmes in the financial crisis.
“It is absolutely crucial that we continue to review the actions taken during our bailout. We need to learn lessons about the mistakes made throughout the process of the bailout. Ireland went through an extraordinary adjustment programme with GDP falling by almost 15 per cent.
“The European Court of Auditors has produced an important study of the Commission’s actions in bailout countries during the crisis. This is a timely report and I welcome that the European Parliament today had an opportunity to review this assessment.
“It is clear from the assessment that the Commission was unprepared for the crisis. Their economic forecasting was limited and key documentation still remains unavailable to the Court of Auditors
“Crucially, the Court of Auditors report shows that the Commission effectively accepted the ECB’s position not to impose losses on unguaranteed bondholders of two zombie banks – Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide. The Court looked for documentation in relation to this decision but was unable to uncover anything. This is a huge problem and we need proper accountability for this. Still to this day, we do not have a comprehensive answer to this issue.
“In future we need a proper auditing system in place to look at bailouts. This needs to happen during the process and not afterwards. We also need proper Parliamentary scrutiny and I’m glad the European Parliament has now put in place a Financial Assistance Working Group to look at bailout processes in future. This is vital if we are to learn anything from our recent past.”