Column : Undemocratic bailouts
Portugal is now awaiting the dreaded footfall of IMF and European Central Bank bailout specialists, who will arrive in Lisbon with a catalogue of conditionalities that the lame duck government has to sign on to. Whether drastic austerity measures imposed by the aid bureaucracy from Brussels will ever restore balanced budgets in prostrate European economies is the gnawing question.
Why were the ‘PIG’ economies not allowed to restructure their debt, i.e., by reducing or writing off gargantuan obligations to foreign banks, instead of having to fall under the knife of bailouts and extreme budget cuts? The bailout of Portugal, estimated to be around $113 billion, has been designed to assist the repayment of Portuguese debt to banks in France, Germany and Britain, which have high exposure.
In the context of European Union politics, these are the heavyweight powers that dominate policymaking and that are at the forefront of devising harsh fiscal conservatism preconditions on bailout recipients. Much to the
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