We are coming into times where, `just talk`, will not be enough.
Talk, backed by thought, that leads to action; will be needed.
It will arrive….but I have not a clue from where~!?
The question is – Will enough money `come home` to help pay off the debts~?
*Sorry, I am having trouble with the audio*
An interesting discussion developed around the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) shortly before today’s vote on it in the Bundestag. Although the vote is not even completed and it is not even clear that the Merkel government will have a majority brought up (if 19 members of the ruling coalition say “Nein”, the days of the recent German government are mostly likely coming to an end) there are already speculative discussions going on about how to “enhance” the ESM.
While by today’s standards the ESM will be equipped with 440 Billion Euro of lendable funds – more and more voices say that this will not be enough. Deducting what has already been paid to peripheral countries that would leave around 330 Billion in the barrel for further action. And obviously some people think that may not be enough for the future.
That is why a lively discussion started about the suggestion to equip the ESM with a Luxembourg banking license. That however would allow the ESM to use a lever of eight on its lendable funds. That factor eight allows the ESM to add some extra zeros to its rescue base.
An incredible 2.69 trillion Euro (2,690,000,000,000) would then ready to be pushed into rescue if needed.
At the same time liability for all contributing states would shoot up to about 2 trillion Euro.
From then on, speaking in Mr Mystic’s words, the ECB won’t have to take care of the kids anymore. The ESM will do. While the ECB can go back to business as usual, the ESM can do all the dirty, tricky and expensive work of buying government bonds. Once bonds are bought they can then be passed on to the ECB which hands back new loanable funds to the ESM. Bond prices will stabilize, yields will go down and everybody will be happy. And with this little bit of extra cash one can at the same time recapitalize, stabilize or bail-out European banks.
What a system!
Now let’s not be concerned that with all the toxic assets being pushed into the ECB some problem may arise there.
That is just talk I am sure…
So much promise.
So many promises.
Podcast: Play in new window
….and sometimes, the people who don’t want them not to happen, have to be `moved aside`…..so that, when they do happen, there is less `fuss`.
I want to capture Mr Mystic’s thoughts of politicians just being good “for window dressing” but hardly able to handle really tough decisions.
Let’s recapitulate about the tough decisions our European politicians have taken in the last decades. Despite European regulations on the curvature of cucumbers, whether the left or right shoe has to be displayed in shops or the light-bulb ban there have been more tough decisions. Good examples are the Maastricht Treaty (aka the creation of the Euro), the Lisbon Treaty (aka the creation of the European Constitution) and the Euro Rescue (aka the creation of the debt union).
While the Maastricht Treaty’s intentions were quite solid in 1992, the final execution was not. EU politicians, led by Germany and France (Kohl and Mitterrand), took step two before step one. A political union would have been necessarily installed prior to installing a common currency. But the designers of the Euro thought they could get away with it. Reality today proves – they did not. When the Maastricht Treaty was finally needed the most and things got tough, it was quickly and mutually broken in May 2010.
But before hell broke loose over the EU, in 2004 our politicians have tried to install a certain political integration. The European-Constitution was a plan to reform the political structures and re-install the missed step one. However, the mistake was made to ask the French and Dutch for their opinions (usually EU politics cares little about people’s opinions). After their “Non” and “Nee” – the treaty had to be toughly mutilated. The result was the Lisbon Treaty and a constitution-like thing that had clearly been washed with fabric softener.
And finally the toughest nut to crack – the Euro Rescue. After more than 18 months of back and forth the situation today is still not clearer than in March 2010. Summit after summit came and went lots of talk but little tough action. I remember the German statements being made in spring last year “We will rescue Greece at any price” – today you can read “We will rescue Greece but not at any price”. One more rather wooly but tough statement.
So yes, European politicians have proven to be unable to handle tough decisions. On the one hand there is a lack of expertise (listening to lobbies therefore makes political life easier…) on the other hand there always needs to be some kind of soft compromise in order make all parties happy and avoid taking harsh and maybe painful decisions. When things get tough though politics just switch to a certain “talk a lot but say nothing” mode. Just listen to what Papandreou said today at the BDI-meeting in Berlin…
This mentality is now not accepted anymore by the markets and that is why the EU and EMU-governments have problems in handling this situation. German media thus proclaims “The end of solidarity” and the Merkel ARD-interview of Sunday (where she tried to explain her “Plan”) is running in an infinite loop on all public TV-stations. This all looks like the masters of window dressing are putting new posh curtains and flowers in just to hide that there is not much meaning behind…
What leaves us puzzled in the end is: Who if not politics will handle this situation then?