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Bank union

The Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. Services, goods, people and capital could now circulate freely between the countries of Europe; this created the requirement for the introduction a single currency. At the time, nobody talked about monetary union, at least not the television or radio stations, or newspapers and magazines. When the European Monetary Institute (EMI) was established one year later in Frankfurt am Main, few people had any idea that this Institute would later become the European Central Bank (ECB); certainly no one wanted to admit that an actually independent Bank should govern Europe and direct its fortunes by means of national and European laws.
In the year 1995, Austria, Sweden and Finland joined the EU; the single currency was given its name: the Euro. The “Stability Pact” was approved just one year later by the EU Council; in 1997 the EU heads of state and government established the exchange rate system EWS II which would apply in future in the EU and agreed that as a symbol of unity, the future currency should have a uniform side on banknotes and coins. Even at this time, politics was already talking about saving.
In the next year of 1998, it was announced which countries would take part in the single currency, and obtained their seat on the European Council; the ECB was founded. At the end of the year, the Euro conversion rates were announced. The eleven countries of Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, Portugal and Ireland calculated their share prices from 1st January 1999 in the new currency; the stock exchanges recorded profits; the Euro stood at US$ 1.1789 – twelve months later however, it was worth 14% less; the ECB set to work.
The citizens of Europe saw the new money for the first time on the night of 31st December 2001 to 1st January 2002, at least if they withdrew money from the ATM of a bank/savings bank. Since that time, legal experts, economists and social scientists have repeatedly criticised the introduction of the Euro. The continually falling exchange rate was just as alarming as the misconceived constructions associated with the introduction of the currency, which legal experts complained about, such as equal voting rights of all Euro countries in the ECB, regardless of their economic strength, continuing the legal nit-picking on the implications of this to the present day – making it almost superfluous to explain that they were unsustainable.
Critics predicted that the Euro could not become a stable currency, that its value would continue to fall, and that it could never become a “hard” currency, because the debts of the countries which had restructured by means of the Euro would always be a burden on the currency. Critics even predicted that the once so graciously adopted stability pact would have to be attacked as a result of the stagnant or falling of the currency, and that this would threaten the currency union. Clearly such statements did not fit in well with election programmes and party intentions. The programme was much more suitable for deceit, lies, rescue packages and prohibited state financing, because in the course of Europeanisation, politics had already long since lost face. Nobody wanted to admit this either, and so it happened as if had to happen, that after all countries of the EU are now bankrupt, the banks in particular have to be wound up.
In the language of politics, that means bank union. The word has been murmured around Europe since mid-2012. The Portuguese José Manuel Barroso, since 2004 President of the European Commission, brought it into circulation during one of the innumerable summit meetings of the EU Finance Ministers in mid-2012 and thereby combined with it above all the hope of being able to control or even solve the debt problems of the Euro countries (and their banks) by equity capital standards, which prevent banks from holding government bonds of their own and other countries. Barroso also called for a European bank supervision authority with great freedom of action, and a fund to cushion unstable or failing banks. This was to be provided by the Euro countries in order to create deposit security.
It is obvious that bankrupt countries have no money for such funds; it is also clear that bankrupt Euro countries are sitting mainly on the junk bonds of their neighbours, and to this extent it must have been clear that the communitisation of debts violates the TFEU of the European treaties; laws would therefore have to be changed. This did not take place. The bank union however, against all economic reason, remained and still remains a political objective, because the ailing banks were and still are increasingly threatened by the crash.
In principle it was not even a matter of a bank rescue, bank supervision or deposit security (which we found out earliest in the case of Greece, and at the latest in the case of Cyprus), it was always simply a matter of creating a framework to facilitate the winding up of ailing banks, and to do so according to uniform European standards. This may be called consistent or perfidious, as was already the case with the German bank rescue – which was decided by a majority of the popular parties. This depends on the observer, and whether the observer follows the logic of those who would destroy the Euro, or who as a taxpayer ultimately has to pay for this madness. And we can be sure that the legal specialists will still argue about it. And they will also have to argue about whether banks must be responsible for themselves, or whether they should be allowed to be rescued with state funds.
So far the ESM is allowed to distribute its gifts to bankrupt banks. It can only do this however indirectly via the relevant member state. In this respect we should remember Cyprus, which claimed rescue funds, but passed them all on to its banks, in order to prevent a bank crash, or in other words a national crash.
At the moment, politics is discussing whether direct recapitalisation must be possible; this would entail an amendment of the ESM Treaty. In any case, banks on which countries depend, notably bankrupt countries, would be rescued. These countries would increasingly have to pass the burden on to their taxpayers, in order to compensate for the losses of the banks; it is thereby almost irrelevant whether the money goes via rescue packages to international or national banks.
In principle, the losses of banks are passed on from one institute to the next, always in the hope of somehow avoiding a total failure. Seen in the light of day, the communitisation of debts is like treading on eggshells around the question: how can we get our hands on the money of the saver/taxpayer without bending or breaking too many laws? And it is thereby relevant whether this refers to € 100,000, a half or 10%. The saver will lose his money. Major capital will be given the advantage – a farce in a social market economy.
This question is being asked by all Euro countries; it is however being asked above all by the ECB, which controls the ESM and sustains the over-indebted banks of Euro Europe. The line is: if it crashes, nobody’s money is safe any longer, no matter what is being claimed in Brussels, not even that of the small saver, no matter in which country of Euro Europe he keeps his accounts. The ECB is also not only a bank rescuer; it is also rescuing itself, because the ECB is sitting on junk bonds by the tonne, which are in fact worthless. If all the bad loans (e.g. from the ESM) and government bonds have to be written off, the ECB itself would also immediately be insolvent and incapable of action. For this reason it must continually rescue itself in order to keep Euro Europe in its present stupor.
So this unwholesome vicious circle will be continued: the ESM rescues banks (i.e. countries) by granting loans, which is actually prohibited under the German Constitution and the TFEU. The banks use these loans to subscribe to bond issues with the ESM as security for new loans. It is only a question of time until the chain breaks. In view of the regulations which are equally applicable for all (automatism), it is clear: if one country were to go bankrupt, then all other countries would immediately also go bankrupt. Market-economy self-responsibility is thereby totally abrogated; mismanaged banks are instead rewarded with state funds. In this respect, it would be highly desirable if the planned banking union were the last mistake which Merkel and the Euro gang were allowed to make.
In order to counteract this, politics (and above all the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble) called for the separation of banks and their supervision. Unfortunately, there is no foundation in the European treaties for banking supervision, because the besotted founders of the Euro overlooked this necessity. Since all the countries are threatened by the forthcoming crash, it must be feared that the helpless Euro rescuers will simply place bank supervision in the hands of the ECB, so that some form of control can be exercised simply in order to prevent the crash. Nor will any help be provided by the idea of the Economic Committee of the European Parliament, which is planning to draw up emergency plans for establishing funds for the rescue of national banks.
In this case too it is again questionable as to where countries such as Portugal, Italy, Spain and Ireland are to find the necessary funds, unless by again robbing the taxpayer. The saver is thus to be protected from dipping into his funds – but the saver will be dispossessed, there is no getting around this fact. The idea is therefore nothing new, but just a new lie in order to circumvent the Financial Stabilisation Act.
This development shows how much the supposed saviours of the Euro have contributed to its demise. And as if this were not enough, the idea has now been born, from the infinite depths of stupidity, of adding more countries to the Euro community. These might include Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria or Turkey.
As if there were nothing more sensible to do, supporters of this idea are immediately rushing into blind action – this concerns the Germans and the Turks, even though Turkey, which has so far been allowed to join only “on probation”, is now being pressed to the German political bosom as a full EMU member.
Mrs. Merkel wants to prevent the demise of the Euro at all costs, even though it is on its last legs and is bound to fail. She fears that then Europe might die, which is nonsense, but Mrs. Merkel nevertheless believes so.
The Euro was a stillbirth from the very outset; Europe was from the outset not the Europe which could have been intended from the point of view of the population. It was an association of bankrupt countries, which developed into a debt union and now have the problem that the insolvents have to be wound up, but the insolvency regulations are missing. If a final reversal of course succeeded towards a common European Monetary Union of all European countries of the previous EU and EMU, as an exit strategy envisioned by politics, then the end of the Euro as a currency is in sight, although politics does not want this. It simply fails to understand that the supposed escape route is an aberration. Angela Merkel must now modify her tactics to ensure that as many countries as possible belong to the EMU.
The enticement comes as false promises; the intention however is that Merkel then wants to prevent Euro countries from using this possibility of getting out of the Euro. This also includes the elicitation of the agreement of the EU Commission members by means of money, to keep the Commission on board, and even to expand the Commission, instead of reducing it in size, as provided for by the Lisbon Treaty. It was a little similar as when Mario Draghi spoke before the Bundestag, in order to secure the major banks. Merkel’s plan to transform as many EU countries as possible into EMU countries is based on the hope of freeing up money, but above all of being able to transfer the requirements of the bank union to all these countries, in order to keep the currency alive, even if only for a short time – let us say until the elections in September 2013, or until Angela Merkel finally becomes the head of the intended European government. This dream will become a nightmare for all those who still have much of the month left when the money runs out, no matter how old they are. Nor will they thereby escape the danger of a crash.
Instead of all this nonsensical behaviour, it should have been the task of politics to seek at least a balance of payments in the passive area with the expectations and the active earnings (for young people), which would have prevented the calamitous reduction of all levels, as would have been the case with a currency reform. But politics failed to see this; it bled its taxpayers dry and financed its fun by reducing all incomes. The Alliance for Democracy believes that if party politics is solely to blame for this, it should at least have put forward proposals for such balances. In this way, a healthy Europe could have been formed; no currency war on the accounts on the basis of the livelihood of Europeans. And this would also have to include currency reform, at any time!
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