Ireland's position in Europe: between a rock and a hard place


We are told that it will be March at least before the text that goes below the headlines will be ready for countries to sign off and implement.  Given the seriousness of the euro crisis, that seems very far away.

In the meantime, the markets may get jumpy, particularly when countries begin to pick at problems in the deal they see for themselves.

For example, one that has already cropped here is the future of the Irish Financial Services Center (IFSC) in Dublin.  If we have to pay the new FTT (Financial Transactions Tax) but the City of London does not, how many of the 30,000 jobs in the IFSC will migrate?  How much of the annual one billion euro in corporation tax we now get from this sector will be lost?

The legal quagmire that is opening up under this deal, in the wake of the British veto, may in the end be more serious than anything else.  Some legal experts are already suggesting that the deal will sink and vanish from view.  

It's a pity that cool heads and compromise instead of confrontation did not work out an agreed way forward that could have included Britain.  Where Sarkozy and Cameron are concerned, there's a pair of them in it, as we say here. Both have one eye on their own electoral futures.

All little Ireland can do in this mess is watch from the sidelines as the big boys make up the new rules. Dangerous times indeed.