10 Feb 2013

EU Crisis: Horse Trading over Reform; It's A Default Without the Fault

Skeptic contagion spreads to Ireland. Serious debates re-examine the totality of the relationship with an EU in desperate need of reform. The latest trigger is opaque horse trading around the bizarre promissory note. This financial instrument, the first in history placed Irish citizens as guarantors of a private bank’s debts, the ill-fated Anglo-Irish Bank which went bust at the beginning of the financial crisis. This notorious note was dumped February 2013 as a promise, only to be replaced by an official debt burden for the Irish people.

New government bonds? They will never ever be repaid in the eyes of the Irish people. In short, it’s a default without the fault.
Horse trading over EU reform begins. The Brussels budget is cut.
 ECB takes a punch in Ireland over bailouts.  E.U. P.R.office rides out
 to fix its image. It's a five year march to regroup the troops
 before citizens decide. image 2013 
Brussels EU institutions and the ECB (European Central Bank) Frankfurt, arm twisted the government of the day into issuing a promise the Irish state would honour Anglo’s debts claiming the bank’s failure, if allowed to go unsupported, would have catastrophic effects for the Eurozone, greater than that felt by the 2008 Lehman Bros debacle. This allowed the bank’s creditors to escape unscathed courtesy of the ECB. The return deal for the Irish in being “Good Europeans” was to treat this case as special.

The ECB is now cornering Cyprus for a bailout. Bailouts make money for banks and isn’t that the name of the game. “Bailouts,” hmmm, they are not really the same as investment for forward planning.

However, this epoch of banking dinosaurs is being confronted.  “Too big to fail” is no longer a fait accompli, no longer the emperor of the jungle. “Too big to fail” is being hunted and located to be cut down to size by those who manage society.  

As EU reform starts in earnest it will not be difficult to paint financial and bureaucratic intuitions as self-serving, greedy and treating citizens as permanent cash cows.  Being a “Good European,” only works if one feels good in Europe.