The open feud between the German Central Bank and the ECB widened significantly. Making matters even worse Chancellor Angela Merkel is also in an open feud with the Bundesbank.
Please consider, Top German central banker slams debt crisis steps
Germany’s top central banker warns that efforts to halt the debt crisis in Europe could give countries incentives to run up deficits in the future.
The statements by Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann underline his differences with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and his fellow board members of the European Central Bank.
Weekend meetings of global financial leaders in Washington raised hopes of a change in strategy, with officials indicating that would focus on further boosting the firepower of the euro440 billion ($595 billion) rescue fund — perhaps by allowing it to tap loans from the European Central Bank or otherwise leveraging its lending capacity.
Hopes for such a move boosted European stock markets on Monday, with German and French bank shares rising strongly.
However, ahead of a parliamentary vote Thursday on changes to the fund that eurozone leaders already agreed to in July, Berlin was keen to underline its attachment to its often-criticized step-by-step approach.
When asked in Washington whether he supported the idea of leveraging the rescue fund, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said: “Of course we will use the EFSF in the most efficient way possible.”
Some in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right coalition already find the beefing up of the EFSF by giving it new powers hard to swallow, and anything beyond that could be a hard sell among its lawmakers.
Christian Lindner, the general secretary of the Free Democrats — Merkel’s junior coalition partner — called on the chancellor to provide clarity and stressed that his party opposes allowing the fund to tap ECB loans.
The rescue measures were criticized once again by Germany’s top central banker, Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann.
Weidmann said in a speech in Washington that the package of support measures for indebted governments “weakens the underlying principle of European monetary union that each country has to bear the full consequences of its own fiscal policy.”
Efforts to shield governments from the consequences of their behavior means “we risk seeking the propensity for excessive deficits rise even further in the future.”
Weidmann was until earlier this year Merkel’s economic adviser, but since his appointment at the Bundesbank he has defended its traditional strict approach to monetary and fiscal policy.
Merkel has been caught between criticism from abroad for doing too little and from supporters at home who fear she is putting taxpayer money at risk. She went on German television Sunday night to defend her step-by-step tackling of the crisis.
She warned of the dangers a radical restructuring of Greek debt might bring at this stage.
“Lehman Brothers was allowed to go bust, and then the world was surprised that it fell into a deep crisis,” Merkel said on ARD television. “What we have to learn is that we can only take steps we can really control.”The rescue measures were criticized once again by Germany’s top central banker, Bundesbank head Jens Weidmann.
Europe Goes All In
Peter Tchir of TF Market Advisors writes EU Goes From Monetary Union To Suicide Pact
As alleged details are leaked about an alleged proposal to leverage the EFSF all I can do is cringe. I’m waiting for some actual details, but as far as I can tell, Europe is attempting go all in. It is going to make leveraged bets on itself. If it doesn’t work, the senior debt holders will own Europe if the BRICs buy the senior tranche and will end in a fast and furious death spiral if the senior tranche is owned by the ECB or European banks. We may get a lift on the news. We are trying to rally on the back of the news right now. But if this plan goes ahead, even the slightest cold in the future will turn into the plague. There will be no strong countries left as they will have tied themselves to the PIIGS anchor with a Gordion Knot that will never be untied in time.
Haven’t they seen what happens to SIV’s? Are the so confident in an economic recovery that will risk it all at this time? If they get it wrong and it doesn’t work, there will be no fall back.
All I can hope is they are tired and too happy with the late night “solution” and the markets initial reaction that after the initial euphoria, cooler heads, like Schaeuble, will prevail. This has the makings of an Epic disaster in the making.
Schaeuble a “Cool Head” or a “Clueless Minister”?
I agree with Tchir this has the makings of an epic disaster. However, I disagree that Schaeuble is a “cooler head”.
Please consider this snip from a Eurointelligence Daily Briefing, September 22, 2011.
Mass circulation tabloid Bild launches a campaign against Wolfgang Schäuble accusing him that he has been systematically misleading the German public on Greece and the euro crisis in the 18 months. In a scathing article it presents a long list with dates and contradictory statements on the need for a rescue program for Greece and the conditions attached to it.
Bild reporter Rolf Kleine adds to that a column under the title “Minister Clueless”. “Whether the billions for Greece will be sufficient to save the country from collapsing, whether the Euro will remain stable – all that is decided by the markets, not by the German finance minister. He can tell the people whatever he wants – and also the opposite”.
Please consider these Schäuble Flip-Flops courtesy of Google Translate.
21st December 2009
“We Germans can not pay for Greece’s problems.”
16th March 2010
“Greece has not asked for help, this is why there is no decision, and there is no decision had been taken.”
11th April 2010
Four weeks later, on 11 April, he decided to finance the first Euro-Greece-aid package of € 30 billion.
16th April 2010
“We still believe that the Greeks are on the right track and that they may end up not even have to take the help.”
22nd April 2010
“The country has had no problems in financing themselves this week in the markets. The agreement on the assistance in an emergency has been a purely preventive measure.”
Greece officially asked for help April 23. In early May a rescue package of 110 billion € was in the works.
27th April 2010
“Rescheduling not an issue”
The 110 billion euros in the first aid package “ceiling” is a one-time emergency assistance.
21st March 2011
The EU finance ministers decide on a rescue fund with legendary 750 billion euros (ESM) – with the voice Schäuble.
6th June 2011
Greece will receive a new package with more than 100 billion €. Schäuble said: Otherwise, “we face the real risk of the first disordered state of insolvency within the euro zone.”
AND WHAT’S NEXT?
Previously, the Finance Minister is on his no to common bonds of all euro countries, the so-called Euro-bonds remained. But perhaps he thinks it is so different again next week .
Unless the definition of “cool head” encompasses “clueless political hacks”, Schäuble is not a “cool head”.
Larger Europe Bailout Fund Could Weigh on Ratings
Reuters reports Larger Europe Bailout Fund Could Weigh on Ratings
David Beers, the head of S&P;’s sovereign rating group, said it is still too soon to know how European policymakers will boost the European Financial Stability Facility, how effective that will be and its possible credit implications.
But he said the various alternatives could have “potential credit implications in different ways,” including for leading euro zone countries such as France and Germany.
European officials, seeking more resources to protect the euro zone against fallout from its debt crisis, are considering ways to increase the impact of the 440 billion-euro fund by leveraging, although it remains unclear exactly how.
Beers said it was evident, however, that policymakers cannot leverage the EFSF without limits.
“There is some recognition in the euro zone that there is no cheap, risk-free leveraging options for the EFSF any more,” Beers told Reuters.
Some analysts say at least 2 trillion euros would be needed to safeguard Italy and Spain if the Greek crisis spreads.
“We’re getting to a point where the guarantee approach of the sort that the EFSF highlights is running out of road.” Beers said in an interview late on Saturday.
Today, fueled by rumors of still more bailouts, the market rallied for umpteenth time, as if use of leverage to bail out Greece is a good idea. It isn’t and just a week ago, the ECB was against the idea. Desperation has set in. If the ECB agrees to do this, Peter Tchir is correct: Europe essentially went “All In”.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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