FG Complain to EU about NAMA – Its a bit late?

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So Fine Gael’s Senator Eugene Regan made a formal complaint to the European Commission about NAMA.

He claims the ‘scale and scope’ of the scheme is disproportionate to the size of the Irish economy, transfers too much risk from the banks onto the Irish taxpayer and does not contain sufficient safeguards that Irish depositors and borrowers will not be forced to pay for the huge mistakes by Irish banks.

Now I think most people would agree with that, but why go crying to the EU now? I thought the Government claimed they cleared this with the EU? Then again they never produced the proof.

The submission can be read here (PDF)

“Fine Gael has grave concerns about the NAMA scheme and the implications it will have for each and every citizen of the Irish State. We opposed the NAMA proposal in the Dáil and Seanad, along with many others, but Fianna Fáil and the Greens forced their ill-advised plans through regardless. Our concerns persist and we have highlighted them is this submission. They include the lack of transparency, flawed valuation methodology, no guarantee of credit flows from banks and inadequate burden-sharing between the banks and the taxpayer.

“The complaint to the Commission calls for the exclusion of Anglo Irish Bank from the scheme and the divestment of non-core assets of Bank of Ireland and AIB to ensure that the focus of each institution is on the provision of credit to the Irish economy.

“The Government has so far presented EU approval of NAMA as a formality and I am asking the Commission to critically examine the bankers/ developers bailout known as NAMA with a view to limiting its scale and scope so that the cost to taxpayers and the State can be minimised.

“While the choice of asset relief scheme is decided by member states, the scale and scope of the NAMA project to be undertaken by the Irish Government, as set out in the draft NAMA business plan, is entirely disproportionate to the size of the Irish economy and budgetary resources and threatens the financial viability of the State itself.

“The scheme also ignores key guidelines issued by the European Commission in relation to transparency in the valuation of assets and the risk-sharing element which sees the taxpayer shouldering most of the burden. Furthermore, the unrealistic assumptions in relation to the ‘long-term economic value’ of assets will unquestionably have a severely negative impact on the Irish State, and its people, for generations to come.

Most of the above we have heard before. But is Brussels willing or able to do anything about it? NAMA is passed. Its law. I know Fine Gael couldnt raise it before it was passed with the Commission, but still is it not a bit late? A bit of crying over spilt milk?

I cant see Brussels telling the Government to undo NAMA, but we see what happens. But we will be waiting I would say!

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Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

3 thoughts on “FG Complain to EU about NAMA – Its a bit late?”

  1. I think the complaint is largely grandstanding. Since the commission are backing NAMA, and can decide on exceptional cases regarding state aid and competition law in general, this is unlikely to go anywhere.

    Your more general question of whether the EU could do anything about Irish legislation already passed, of course they could. Directives and rulings from the Commission are responsible for shifts in Irish legislation all the time. Simply because the NAMA bill has been passed doesn’t really change anything.

  2. While I agree with you about the grandstanding (that word escaped me last night), I disagree on what the Commission can do. Yes regulations and directives can change Irish Law. Regulations with immediate effect and directives when changes pass by member state governments, I can’t see the Commission issuing either of those in relation to NAMA. While they issue an opinion, this has no legal backing. A decision on the other hand will be binding to a degree, but the Government will be able to appeal it to the European Court of Justice.

    I really can’t see anything happening because of the complaint.

    My reference to it being passed is that if the Commission had given an opinion against the plan prior to its passing, it could have been useful. But it didn’t happen so no point to the complaint.

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