Around the time of the EU/IMF deal for Ireland, Patrick Honohan advocated that it would be more effective if the financial risks associated with fixing the Irish banking system could be shared across the European system, rather than just making ‘plain vanilla’ official loans to the Irish government.
In her Jackson Hole remarks, Christine Lagarde agrees:
Second, banks need urgent recapitalization. They must be strong enough to withstand the risks of sovereigns and weak growth. This is key to cutting the chains of contagion. If it is not addressed, we could easily see the further spread of economic weakness to core countries, or even a debilitating liquidity crisis. The most efficient solution would be mandatory substantial recapitalization—seeking private resources first, but using public funds if necessary. One option would be to mobilize EFSF or other European-wide funding to recapitalize banks directly, which would avoid placing even greater burdens on vulnerable sovereigns.
Today’s FT lead article also makes the same point – but where the EFSF would guarantee funding lines for banks, rather than inject capital.