The euro may have been pointless, but it might have been a whole lot less pointless if there’d been political union from the onset. So implied Mario Draghi, ECB President, at the BoE Open Forum on Wednesday.
For the laissez faire radicals out there, here’s how he went on to define the nature of “truly free” markets in that context (our emphasis):
Consider the case of markets that are truly open – by which I mean, as open as the Single Market of the European Union, where internal frontiers have been abolished entirely, where passporting of services across the entire EU is a right, not a privilege.
In this situation, national governments, or national courts of law, cannot alone provide full protection to their citizens against abuse of property rights or any form of unfair competition that may arise from abroad. Nor can they alone protect the rights of their citizens to carry out business abroad unimpeded by protectionist restrictions. For the market to be truly free, there needs to exist a judiciary power that can enforce the Rule of Law on all, everywhere. It has to have jurisdiction across the entire market.
About that banking union and the aspiration to “break the feedback loop between banks and sovereigns”…
From JP Morgan’s Alex White:
It has been clear for some time that this is not fully achievable in the near term, because of the extent of the institutional journey required (likely including the prospect of Treaty change). For the foreseeable future, Europe’s banks will be left with what Minister Schauble has explicitly referred to as a “timber-framed” Banking Union. This will emphasize that the heavy lifting has to be done at the national level, and will be based around the development of national resolution regimes.
Yes the IMF calls for common eurozone deposit insurance, in this new banking union paper. But also look at what they suggest on emergency liquidity assistance:
Lender of last resort. The lender of last resort makes liquidity support available to solvent yet illiquid banks. Centralizing all LOLR functions at the ECB would in the steady state eliminate bank-sovereign linkages present in the current ELA scheme (see Box 1). This would require changes to the ECB’s collateral policy, as by definition euro area banks that tap ELA cannot access Eurosystem liquidity owing to collateral constraints. Until such time as all banks are brought under the ECB’s supervisory oversight, ELA would be sourced through both the ECB (for banks brought under its purview) as well as national central banks (for banks that remain under national supervision, albeit with adjustments made to the national ELA limits).
Which would be nothing short of a revolution. Read more
We have a banking union, kinda, sorta. After another marathon summit that stretched into the early hours of Thursday morning — with four hours apparently devoted to overcoming the differences between Paris and Berlin — a classic euro-fudge left everyone feeling relatively satisfied. From the FT:
While the compromise could permit all sides to declare political victory, it remains unclear whether the details effectively establish a two-tier regime or give the ECB ultimate responsibility for all banks.
Shocking. Read more
Listening to the comments of the various European leaders this morning, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they were attending different summits yesterday.
Francois Hollande, as quoted by the FT (emphasis ours):
The topic of this summit is not the fiscal union but the banking union, so the only decision that will be taken is to set up a banking union by the end of the year and especially the banking supervision.
And we have some very small bits of progress. And, naturally, plenty of kinks. Here’s a handy run down from JP Morgan’s Alex White: Read more
We just had to highlight this excellent cut-out-and-keep guide, from today’s print FT, to the tussle over banking union, fiscal union, and debt mutualisation:
Citi’s Willem Buiter has gone all good idea/bad idea on us.
= the introduction of the ECB’s Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) facility, the decision of the German Constitutional Court to allow German participation in the ESM with small additional conditions, and the strong performance of centrist, pro-European parties in the Dutch election. Read more
It’s a proposal from the EU Commission. You know, the one that wants to move towards a ‘federation of nation states‘:
With the EC set to outline its proposals for a European banking union in less than a month’s time, leaked documents detailing the initial discussions indicate differences of opinion remain as wide as ever.
A key area of contention seems to be delegation of banking oversight tasks. From Bloomberg (our emphasis): Read more
What can Europe do? SocGen has a handy little chart:
It’s a commonly-held belief that the bailout of Spain’s banks won’t be sufficient to solve the country’s problems. It will increase the government’s borrowing, and may not be large enough anyway.
The real solution is
fiscal banking political some kind of union. See if you can spot one of the barriers to moving forward with that: Read more
A few things that are worth being taken together. First from José Manuel Barroso in the FT (with our emphasis):
All 27 EU countries should submit their big banks to a single cross-border supervisor as part of a banking union to be enacted as soon as next year, the president of the European Commission has urged. Read more