Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Draghi has done an ok job so far, he has stretched the ECB to its legal limits. How can I get my fellow Germans to see the light?

There is a somewhat productive debate of in Germany about Lack of investment. But with the rise of the AFD the CDU is cornered and can not show any flexibility.

by rz on Mon Sep 22nd, 2014 at 03:17:29 PM EST
Eurointelligence: Germany rejects idea of ESM as an investment fund (September 22, 2014)
Suddeutsche Zeitung reported on Saturday that Jean-Claude Juncker was actively considering turning the unused capacity of the ESM into a credit facility to help boost EU investments. The idea was to channel the money into an investment fund under the aegis of the EIB, which would then lend-money backed by the fund to certain investment projects. Werner Hoyer, president of the EIB, has set up a task force to study the details, the article said. It also said that work was under way to set up a list of investment projects.

The German reaction to this story was [bordering] on the hysterical. Frankfurter Allgemeine expresses predictable outrage. Wolfgang Schauble immediately dismissed it on the grounds that the use of these funds was not backed by the ESM treaty. He said the fund had been created to help countries in an acute financial crisis and to deter speculators in return for strict conditionality. The fund was not there to be used. It has nothing to do with investment, Schauble said.

The paper quotes a source close to Juncker as saying that the main discussion now was about the legal basis. The paper quoted diplomats as saying that this scheme would require a change in the ESM treaty, which would have to be unanimous. Germany would oppose this.

At the G20 in Cairns, Schauble said the main problem in the eurozone is not lack of finance but demand, on which he is in agreement with Hoyer, who pointed out that only 16% of EU companies complained about shortage in the availability of finance.

FAZ also writes that Juncker had difficulties getting his €300bn together. The biggest part of this sum would come from a reshuffle of existing spending,

In a comment in the paper Werner Mussler writes that it would be potentially dangerous to turn the ESM into an investment vehicle because it would damage its reputation in financial markets, and reduce its capacity to act.

The ECB's preferred way for governments to support investment is guaranteeing asset-backed securities. Reuters has an interview with Peter Praet. He said the ECB was not suggesting that governments insure the entire mezzanine level but to target SME lending. "The amounts are not that important, considering also that existing facilities, which in some cases are not even used, can be tapped."

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 22nd, 2014 at 03:25:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is impressive the extent to which the consequences of ECB policy and the EIB mirror the consequences of US elite agendas: miniscule domestic investment, collapse of demand and widening wealth disparities. Elite agendas converge, despite differing methodologies, to similar consequences, the most important of which is the increased wealth of the elites.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Sep 23rd, 2014 at 10:40:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The elites earned so much money and financial assets. The politicians and bureaucrats are now working hard for all that money to have tangible significance.
by das monde on Thu Oct 9th, 2014 at 12:59:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To build the shaky face value of bubble-inflated assets into solid wealth, consolidation is called for. Ie, the income and assets of the vast majority are depreciated to compensate for the rapidly-increasing wealth of the few.

This is basically the process that has been under way since 2008. The current labile state of international (public and private) finance makes it reasonable to fear a second round any time soon.

NB state-shrinking "reformers" seem to agree that one area in which public spending may usefully increase is in the training and equipment of riot police.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 9th, 2014 at 01:59:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hard-money as a policy would be tolerable (even with the results being seen), but Germany is not for hard-money. Germany is for whatever is better to Germany: During the re-unification (with its costs) it was OK to run deficits. Germany and Portugal were the two countries that broke the 3% deficit limit first more than 10 years ago and at that time it was fine because it was convenient to Germany.

This means that the correct narrative is not about hard-money, but about German interest. It is not very difficult to step from here and suggest that a certain pattern with regards to European domination seems to assert itself in Germany from time to time. In the previous century it was more atrocious, but the underlying pattern seems to be there still.

The EU has become a mechanism for that power grab  (nowadays probably unconscious). At the very least the Euro is that: For the sake of all of us, it must go.

by cagatacos on Tue Sep 23rd, 2014 at 12:02:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this is the wrong way of looking at it. Berlin really cares about hard money, and so does the average German. Neither Berlin nor the average German feel they have (yet again) embarked on a project to subjugate the rest of Europe. Rather, they see themselves as victims, the losers who have been tricked into bailing out the feckless southerners, who really should just behave as Germans and that would make everything alright.

No amount of arguments about mercantilism, current account surpluses or aggregate demand is going to change this - most ordinary people don't know what those things are, and even fewer politicians do.

Sure, Germany did break the Stability pact a decade ago, but who remembers that? Also, that was before the crisis, so hard money sentiment was not rampant. It might have existed under the surface, but no one really cared. Everything seemed to be working so well, after all.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Sep 25th, 2014 at 02:36:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hard money is not ok. If there would be a consistent hard money policy in europe we would all be screwed.

While there is a distinct and annoying  feeling of superiority in Germany, there is no power grab in the sense that Germany willfully destroys the southern economies to gain power.

by rz on Mon Oct 6th, 2014 at 03:11:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Instead German backed policies continue to grind to dust the economies of the periphery while German politicians assert not only that this is not the intent, but that their policies are not the cause - a sort of self serving blindness.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Oct 6th, 2014 at 08:29:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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