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Budget committee says automatic capital rule of the ESM both unacceptable and unconstitutional; wants to subject each capital increase to a vote in the Bundestag (which would probably impair the AAA-rating of the ESM; statement comes after German Court of Auditors handed out a ruling saying that Merkel understated the amounted of capital Germany is likely to provide, as it underestimates the possibility that other guarantors might not pay up; S&P says ESM is not going to impair the creditworthiness of its guarantors; Portuguese banks reduce ECB borrowings; polls suggest a close outcome of Finnish elections; AIB considers debt forgiveness for Irish mortgage holders; Troika frustrated about Greek authorities' failures on taxes and customs; 30 NGOs create a "Finance Watch" lobby group to counter the lobbying strength of the financial sector; the Netherlands threatens to block Iceland's bid to join the EU; Wolfgang Münchau argues that the lack of bond purchasing powers of the EFSF/ESM makes any voluntary debt restructuring options impossible; Lorenzo Bini-Smaghi, meanwhile, argues that it is fair for Irish taxpayers to shoulder the burden, as they created a financial centre based on lax financial regulation and low corporate taxes.
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