Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I am aware mine is probably a minority view on ET and I don't disagree that some of the Mastricht rues are stupid and that the ECB response (under Trichet) to the great Recession was disastrous. In addition, Ireland suffered as much as anyone from inappropriate interest rates set to meet German needs in the early noughties.

That said, it was still up to the Irish central back to regulate excessive private lending and it spectacularly failed to do so. Now Melo is blaming Italian debt on "a generation of sleazy politicians wasted zillions on boondoggle vanity projects financed by cheaper interest rate loans than they were used to, indebting the country up to its eyeballs." Fair enough, but not the primary responsibility of the ECB to control and he and most Italians would be the first to shout foul if German politicians had sought to intervene.

My issue is more with timing. There is a general and widening Eurozone recovery underway aided by very progressive (and controversial) policies by Draghi. Now is not the time for Keynesian reflation and increasing debt levels still further. Italy has a problem with inequality and Billions being stashed by the rich outside the country, but again, that is primarily a matter for the Italian Government to deal with.

If I were an Italian policy maker, I would certainly fight for reform of Masstrict rules, oppose Jens Weidmann, and seek to reform the ECB to include formal employment targets in its mandate, give it a formal responsibility as "lender of last resort", strengthen bank resolution rules, and insist on the creation of a Eurozone Finance Minister with a significant budget to tackle regional and social inequalities.

None of this require leaving, (or threaten to leave) the Euro which is already increasing debt servicing costs and reducing investor confidence further. Brexit and Trump are making economic and political stability more important than ever, and you already have the UK doing the legwork on what leaving the EU might be like.

Now just strikes me as a particularly stupid time to make leaving the Euro a core part of your programme. It is damaging to what recovery there is and isn't addressing core problems. Plus it's cold outside. If you can't compete within the EU, I don't fancy your chances of competing outside.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 7th, 2018 at 11:32:15 AM EST
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