The Coalition Government must reject the terms of the bailout of Portugal. Britain is not part of the eurozone and should not have been expected to enter into this arrangement (“the EFSM”) which is “legally unsound” or unlawful, because Article 122 is to do with natural disasters and not financial mismanagement.
The British taxpayer should not be expected to have this added to the national debt even as a contingent liability in these circumstances. It is time for the Government to stop Britain’s financial exposure towards the eurozone’s downward spiral.
Only last Saturday, I attended a protest in London against EU bailouts, making clear that George Osborne’s comment on the Portuguese bailout that “We have to live with that” is unacceptable. In these times of austerity, Britain must be clear – we can’t afford to live with it!
The European Scrutiny Committee referred to the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism as “legally unsound”. Alistair Darling signed us up and the Coalition Government acquiesced in it. It must be challenged – if necessary, in the courts. This underwriting of Portugal alone will amount to approximately £4.4 billion for the British taxpayer. That’s 14 new hospitals. Or over 189,000 new police officers. Or over 175 new schools. And that’s not counting the amounts provided or yet to be provided for further Greek and/or Irish bailouts.
We must stop the rot. Britain’s taxpayers must not underwrite the failures of eurozone countries. The eurozone decided on its own course in creating the euro with its economic policies and must pay for its own failures. Britain can’t afford them.