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Michael D: 'The EU will become illegitimate without economic reform'

President Higgins says the EU is facing a “moral crisis” as much as an economic one: “You are either a union or you’re not.”

President Michael D Higgins:
President Michael D Higgins: "You need a pluralism of approaches."
Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D HIGGINS has warned that the European Union must massively overhaul its economic model and reform the European Central Bank – or face the loss of its legitimacy.

The President said that the European Union faced not only an economic crisis, but a moral one – and remarked: “You are either a union or you are not.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, the President called for a “radical rethink” of how European leaders had responded to the continent’s economic crisis.

“There is a real problem in what was assumed to be a single hegemonic model,” said Higgins, saying a one-size-fits-all policy would not work for every country given how the profile of the unemployment bases for different countries could vary.

“The unemployment profile in Greece is different from the unemployment profile in Ireland. You need a pluralism of approaches,” he told interviewer Jamie Smyth.

Higgins also argued that an early separation of banking and sovereign debts, as European leaders had agreed last June, could have spared Ireland the need to enter the EU-IMF bailout.

In full: President Higgins’ interview in the Financial Times >

Read: President to MEPs: ‘We cannot ignore the suffering of European citizens’

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Gavan Reilly

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