Euro Area Crisis: EUC Report — Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:50 pm on 21st May 2012.

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Photo of Lord Marlesford Lord Marlesford Conservative 6:50 pm, 21st May 2012

When Sub-Committee A looked at the bailout, we saw again and again that the figures produced as necessary to prevent a catastrophe became ever greater by magnitudes. There is the old cliché about "A billion here and a billion there-you are talking serious money"; we almost reached the stage where it was "A trillion here and a trillion there". If the prospects are for bailout, and that just continues, whatever happens and however much worse it gets, it has been fairly conclusively proved that people will take advantage of a bailout. It is human nature. It was the present governor of the Bank who said that if there is a run on the bank, the sensible thing is to join it. Therefore, if the bank is prepared to bail you out, the sensible thing is to accept the money.

My solution is that you impose a requirement to earn the euros-but with some help through the IMF, eurobonds, or eurobond investments-and you are thus able to rebuild your economy. I do not see, from the point of view of people living in Greece, that there is much difference between perhaps starting off with saying, "We are going to recreate the drachma; and the drachma is equal to a euro", and then finding that the next day it is worth only half a euro, or, as the noble Lord, who likes speculating on these matters, might think, the drachma would soon be worth only a quarter of the euro. It would be a great deal better to recognise that the flexibility of having to have the euros with which to buy and pay for things would itself generate a reality that, I believe, is lacking.