If the Euro hardens into fiscal union, which way will Ireland jump?

If I thought the number of comments we get on stories was the sole metric for their importance, I think I’d have to close Slugger tomorrow. You can never quite predict what grips people and what doesn’t.

As in this note the other day , regarding Walter Munchau, who has been a prophet in the wilderness on EU reform for some years now, laid out a dilemma that is going to face Irish politicians and policy makers just as soon as they lift their heads from their desks long enough to confront it before the crisis arrives in Dublin.

Today Paul Gillespie in the Irish Times offers his own considered thoughts on the nature of that problem:

If the euro system survives and deepens, how realistic is it to think it could be governed from the 27, not the 17? Noonan’s desire to avoid a two-tier system with separate agendas owes much to his awareness of the economic values the State shares with the UK, including on trade, the single market and transatlantic relations. The UK desperately needs the euro zone to succeed but will not join it.

Those outside the euro zone will not be allowed to dictate terms. That makes a deepening inner core more likely than a unified EU.

The implications for Ireland need more analysis and debate. Noonan says the Government cannot stand in the way of treaty change, but must caution it would have great difficulty carrying it now. It would be easier if it could be shown to enhance Ireland’s position, but this will play out over several years and involve difficult choices.