The dining room of the Club House Hotel was the venue for former president of the European Parliament Pat Cox’s address to the members of the Alliance Française of Kilkenny.
Speaking to a packed audience on the theme of “The Crises in Europe,” he looked at the context of the current problem and of the cooperation and conflict of opinion on how it should be resolved.
He brought people back to the Maastricht Treaty, which set deficit and debt limits but which was more honoured in the breach than in the observance. That treaty also had a “no bailout” rule, although the European Community found a way around that to help Greece, Portugal and Ireland out.
He spoke about the key role Germany has as it represents one-third of the economic wealth of Europe; add in France and that becomes a half of the wealth generated. But, as he pointed out, while Germany was powerful it was also constricted by its own Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe and by public opinion. So work was begun on a permanent fund, the European Stability Pact.
Mr Cox gave his talk in fluent French and interlaced it with summaries in English. He then answered questions form the audience on the current crises and other European issues.