BEHIND every cloud lurks a silver lining and the ongoing upheaval in the Eurozone may just offer the potential to cut a massive swathe through bureaucracy and save a quid, or at least a Euro or two, at the same time.
Portugal and Spain have both suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous borrowing commitments and the former has already received a reported 78 billion euros to support its ailing economy.
My suggestion is that Spain should use its bailout money, when it comes, to buy the Portuguese debt and, effectively, to buy Portugal.
Now, before you scoff at this idea, think of the benefits that might accrue.
For a start there would be need for only one government on the Iberian Peninsular.
I accept that this might increase the jobless numbers marginally but reducing Portugal to the status of an administrative region would save millions of Euros every year.
Only one army, one navy and one air force would be required and the almost identical laws that are currently duplicated could be condensed into one set of statutes.
The saving in printing costs alone should be enough to underwrite Greece’s next handout.
It won’t much matter where the administrative centres are located; the massive doubling-up of government manpower currently striving for virtually identical objectives could disappear overnight.
In one fell swoop the burden on the EU would also be reduced as one national representative would disappear from the weekly ministerial conferences trying to resolve the continuing crises.
(I appreciate that another will appear in the line up when Chad is elected to the European Union but even temporary respite would be welcome.)
It wouldn’t be necessary for the Portuguese to learn Spanish as Spain’s 45.9 million population already copes with a fistful of dialects as diverse as Galician and Aranese – one more won’t make much difference and, in any event, Portuguese is as impenetrable as Basque.
There would also be myriad opportunities to reduce the cost of administering the new state of Iberia.
Entities like Portugal’s national airline, TAP, could be amalgamated with the recently combined BA/Iberia conglomerate saving yet more money.
Who wants to Take Another Plane anyway?
Portuguese wine could be re-branded as Rioja. It would benefit from worldwide marketing and, in return, Spain would get a drinkable glass of port. It might even be possible to ban production of Mateus Rosé as part of the deal.
I’m sure that hundreds more benefits would emerge from the State of Iberia. I will let you know when I think of them.