One thought that I should have put in my, em, original Sinn post is the following.
Sinn and others believe that the Target 2 balances show that ECB operations have created a big risk for the German taxpayer, channelling lots of funds from Germany to Ireland. In fact, the truth is exactly the opposite.
The big change in Target 2 balances in recent years shows that German banks were huge beneficiaries of ECB operations. Without the intervention of the ECB, there is no way that the Irish banks or the government that backed them would have been able to pay back the huge amounts they owed German banks.
So the ECB operations allowed the German banks to turn hugely risky loans to Irish banks into completely safe deposits with the Bundesbank (the Bundesbank’s Target 2 balances are the mirror image of these deposits). Now, of course, Germany will share 28% of the credit risk stemming from these operations. But the rest of the Eurosystem has taken on 72% of the risk of operations that have hugely benefited German banks and the taxpayers that would have had to recapitalise them in the absence of the ECB operations.