Daniel Gros, Dirk Schoenmaker: a Sense of Urgency

Today’s proposals from the EU Commission on banking union offer a draft directive whose operative date would be January 1st. 2015, by which time the game will be well and truly over. It would also apply to the EU as a whole, and has that familiar, watered-down, look to it. 

Here’s a slightly more urgent suggestion from Daniel Gros and Dirk Schoenmaker:


In Greece, they argue, the sovereign has brought down the banks, while in Spain the banks are about to bring down the sovereign, as happened in Ireland, with a little help from the ECB.

The new ESM needs to be deployed to re-capitalise the Spanish banking system, pronto, as soon as the stress tests have been completed. Placing the burden on the sovereign, before the stress tests, is insane. We have been here before.

They also have a better idea for stopping the bank run in Greece.

41 replies on “Daniel Gros, Dirk Schoenmaker: a Sense of Urgency”

This Der Spiegal headline says it all…

The World from Berlin
Spain’s Bailout Refusal Is ‘Kamikaze Politics’

In relation to the Daniel Gros proposal:

The Spanish proposal is spot on and will work. It should have been done a long time ago. Personally I hope that Spain take the reins and does it. Europe’s objectives are not in the Spanish national interest, nor Ireland’s either.

The Greek proposal will not work. When is a euro not a euro?
When it is a partial euro.

“The best might be therefore to make the (new) Greek government the following offer. The ESM/EDIRF could provide a partial insurance for retail deposits (say up to 10 % of the maximum) provided the government agrees to implement the adjustment programme (and thus qualifies for further financial support). ”

It becomes a partial euro when the the holder is a Greek. Or later, when the holder is a Portuguese, or when the holder is an Irish person, und so weiter.

Speaking from personal point of view, if Greek depositors are burned, then I must assume that I am fair game too.

Any assets, pension fund etc will immediately be taken out of euros and put into sterling. Of course the big boys have already done this.
But the little guy, even the peripheral little guy, is not quite as dumb as the powers that be think. If the Greek depositor gets burned the little guys will stampede.

Steve from Hicksville

“Everyone on Planet Earth stuck with euros will want them changed into d-marks.

This is a laughable farce of an idea. If Germany repudiates all of its trans-Europe responsibilities denominated in euros, it will certainly not accept the same responsibilities denominated in d-marks.

What about people with euros in German accounts? Won’t they be entitled to d-marks? NO! The Germans will convert non-citizen currency accounts to domicile states’ currencies. The euro itself might vanish with in a cloud of dust but all the EU instruments of finance repression will remain in place. A Greek with a German account you will be given worthless drachmas. Spanish will be giving pesetas, Irish given punts and a kick in the pants: everyone else in the ex-eurozone will be frantically bidding for dollars with whatever they have in their fists. Gold is good but nobody buys groceries with gold.”


DORK – look there was a credit inflation in Greece also… any look at the deposit figures will tell you that.
Even if the Greek banks were “responsible” the Greek economy was dependent on northern Banks hyper inflating credit and the Northerners spending hyperinflated euros in Greek islands.

Also NATO was / is dependent on fiscally non sovergin Greece to cover it south east flank with a air fore bigger then the RAF and buy its Hardware so that Germany and France could keep its discipline.!!!

These Guys cannot be taken seriously – the euro economy is semi integrated for Christ sake.

Greece should do a De Gaulle Pepsi Max and pull out of NATO stating it can no longer afford to keep its comitments.

“Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble agree that Spain should be forced to accept bailout money from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), the temporary euro bailout fund, to inject liquidity into the country’s struggling banks. The two settled on the strategy last week. Last Wednesday, Schäuble pressured his Spanish counterpart, Luis de Guindos, to accept the emergency funding.”

The sovereign country Spain should be “forced” to accept….

Contrast with the French attitude…

“The euro zone is ready to “mobilise very rapidly” to come to Spain’s financial assistance “if the Spanish government wishes,” French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said today.
“We also respect the sovereignty of a great country like Spain in relation to what request it expresses,” he said at a press conference, implying that Madrid had not yet made such a request.”


Also grappling with difficulties in finding funds to finance its debt, Italy continues to suffer from the aftermath of a series earthquakes that since May 20 have so far caused 25 deaths. The Italian government has estimated reconstruction costs of 2 billion euros and has asked Brussels not to figure these in when calculating Italy’s 2012 deficit. This is to avoid sanctions imposed by the fiscal compact.


‘Finally, resolution requires a change in governance to align the interest of management with those who bear the risk after resolution, namely the public authorities.’ (Daniel Gros and Dirk Schoenmaker)

WRT to Irish banks, it remains a very open question on the extent to which GOVERNANCE has evolved to mirror such allignment. In the broader context I detect little real change … patronage and insider status continues to trump compentence and independence [did anyone spot the X-AG and X-PD_Minister representing NAMA today?]

As Olly Rehn has finally figured out recently, and which the Irish Case provides more than sufficient empirical evidence, the link between banks and sovereigns has to be sundered unequivocally. The Conflationist Fallacy has proven to be a total disaster – as I have argued for quite a while … and I’m only a citizen_serf!

Der Spiegel Links

[1] View from Berlin on Spain

Pressure is growing for Spain to tap into European Union bailout money to stem its banking crisis, but the country has stubbornly refused. Instead, Madrid hopes to get around bailout conditions with direct aid to its banks. German commentators on Wednesday say that the time for pride has passed.

Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble agree that Spain should be forced to accept bailout money from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), the temporary euro bailout fund, to inject liquidity into the country’s struggling banks. The two settled on the strategy last week. Last Wednesday, Schäuble pressured his Spanish counterpart, Luis de Guindos, to accept the emergency funding.


[2] ‘Now, a compromise to the standoff appears to be taking shape. According to the center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday, European leaders are currently considering a plan which foresees euro bailout money being provided to Spain’s “Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring”, or FROB, a bank bailout fund set up in 2009. In return, Spain would pledge to restructure its financial sector, but would not be forced into extensive economic reforms and austerity measures of the kind that have been imposed on Greece.


The Pyrennes on both sides of the border is now fully integrated with most of the border guards gone since 1990ish……people can slip into that country at any time.
Stopping Smuggling is almost impossible now.
Indeed its a much more integrated system then the Northern /southern Ireland thingy.
The French simply cannot afford another post war relationship of cheaper drink and fags across the border.


Sorry, posted on wrong thread.

I think the problem with Spain and Germany is that when the real amounts come out (like Ireland, Spain will try to drip feed the bad news which is SOP in PR terms) it will be horrendous.

Germany has an inkling of the real size of the Spanish banking problem and doesn’t want that size of bailout happening without the ’strict conditions’ of a Troika programme and the sovereign on the hook (or with skin in the game as I believe some people prefer to say).

However, Spain wants to get the direct funding to the banks agreed by pretending it’s a smaller figure and then reveal the truth later…. by which time the deal will have been set and the ESM will just have to keep on putting money into the black hole without Spain accepting any further conditions – or else the Euro goes up in smoke.

They’re not daft the Germans. Spain is trying to pull a fast one…. we only need a small amount so let’s do it directly, before the full audit has been carried out, without any conditions on the sovereign and then we’ll let you know the real bill when the mechanisms and paperwork are all signed up.

Spain is toast. Don’t touch it or anything in it with a barge pole. Seriously.

Swiss lifeboat still at the dock. Waiting. Some sense of urgency amongst the crew though. Maybe even panic.

@The Dork of Cork

“The French simply cannot afford another post war relationship of cheaper drink and fags across the border.”

Down in Carcassonne, you can buy Spanish fags and booze much cheaper than the French ones – and even the French ones are a lot cheaper than here. It’s almost enough to get you started on smoking… almost. I had one behind a bike shed once. Made me so dizzy I fell over and cracked my head open. Put me off for life – have a smoke and end up in hospital….. oh, that’s what happens to all smokers eventually anyway?


Our time is nearly up
6 June 2012 La Vanguardia Barcelona

Until this week, Madrid thought it would have to wait for the Greek elections before getting any help to solve its national bank crisis. But panic is now growing with no easy solution in sight.

… On June 5 Cristóbal Montoro, the Budget Minister gave in his witty way the best summing up of the situation the Spanish government finds itself in – “The Men in Black will not be coming,” which was an amusing way of rejecting intervention – but he also had to admit that to clean up the banks need money. “The problem is where to find it”.


@ PrGuy

If the Euro went down I wouldn’t be so sure about Switzerland.
It’s a defacto member of the EU.

Yeah I spent a year + of my life down there….. its both a healthy and unhealhty place…..but Carco is a bit of a tourist trap – especially behind the walls.
Go to Foix at the end of the Summer – theres a nice festival on every year or so.

If not around then take the Yellow Train to the Cerdagne….I think you can still get a Train from Latour de Carol to Barcelona (it was once a very busy station , now very quiet)

Text from Blind Biddy in Frankfurt:

The Anglo: Not Our Debt Campaign Supports Today’s Protest Outside ECB Demanding Debt Justice

Representatives from a number of Irish organisations, including the Ballyhea/Charleville bondholder bailout protest group, travelled to Frankfurt to take their demands directly to Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, during that body’s governing council meeting. These demands include the immediate destruction of all remaining promissory notes and the refunding of the two promissory notes already paid, which have cost Ireland over €6 billion.

Nessa Ni Chasaide, also of the Anglo: Not Our Debt campaign, said that “civil society has to take its message directly to Europe because it seems the Irish government will not – the time for begging for favours is long passed, this is the time to demand justice, including the writing down of illegitimate debt”.

Read the full statement “nailed” to the door of the ECB here.


Another bell weather event but I suspect much more serious in context of retail sales shrinking.

There is a serious Titanic-sized gash in the private indigenous sector of the Irish economy which I believe has been passed over not just by commentary but engaged political attention.

Not all the jobs will come from the US, and certainly not all the money will come from Europe.

@ the alchemist

the IT had a piece yesterday about the banks not looking likely to hit their targets of EUR 3.5 bn lending to the SME sector.
It must be a real nightmare out there in the real economy.

“German and European Union officials are working on plans, it has emerged, to inject cash into the stricken sector, perhaps using the bail-out funds, the EFSF and ESM.
Officials in Brussels said the contingency strategy to support Spain could be “austerity-lite”, rather than tied with conditions like the Greek and Portuguese bail-outs, to restore confidence more quickly. The bail out could be as much as €80bn(£65bn) rather than €40bn Madrid reckons its banks need.”

Austerity lite…is that like Bud light?

From Gros and Schoenmaker:

“Procrastination leads only to an accumulation of even higher losses and gives private creditors the time to escape any losses by offloading their claims at the government or the ECB.”

This will scare the living daylights out of private funds and those doing what they are payed to do will double and treble up on getting to hell out of this market by any means possible. It is suggestions such as this, regardless of whether you think they are right or wrong, that will cause the whole house of cards to collapse.

@Colm mcc

“However, doing nothing means that the trickle of withdrawals could soon turn into a fully-fledged run. The best might be therefore to make the (new) Greek government the following offer. The ESM/EDIRF could provide a partial insurance for retail deposits (say up to 10 % of the maximum) provided the government agrees to implement the adjustment programme (and thus qualifies for further financial support). Each year, the government continues to implement the adjustment programme the ceiling on the guarantee could be increased. But the entire guarantee would be forfeited if the government decided to stop implementation and exit the euro. This combination would immediately create the strong constituency in Greece for a real adjustment that has been missing so far. Until now public sector employees and pensioners had an incentive to vote against ‘austerity’ to protect their income. With this partial and contingent deposit guarantee there would immediately be millions of depositors who might vote differently to protect their savings”

10% of the maximum, that could anyway be pulled if a Greek government decides to or is forceed to bail out?!

Not sure that is likely to be very effective in stopping a bank run. Would you advise a depositor to hang around (assuming you had no personal interest in them doing so, like for example being a bank employee)?

I note border controls being discussed by Germany and France. Nothing to see there…move along please…

“Until now public sector employees and pensioners had an incentive to vote against ‘austerity’ to protect their income. With this partial and contingent deposit guarantee there would immediately be millions of depositors who might vote differently to protect their savings”

At what point does it become permitted for basic rational agent behaviour to be discussed openly in Ireland, with respect to the way people have acted and will continue to act in Ireland?

The hope that Europe will cover 100% of deposits at Greek banks is probably the only thing preventing a full speed run right now. An announcement that it will cover only 10%, and that subject to conditions, doesn’t seem likely to improve Greek banking stability.


Methinks ‘rational agent behaviour’, in the supposedly economic decision making sense [and the highly dubious foundation of the odious efficient markets hypothesis]has caused more than sufficient mayhem as it is ….

Let’s take a more useful detour into ‘power dynamics’ …

Dastardly Deauville on the beach with MerKozy was designed to re-elect the CDU in Germany in 2013 and the little Emperor in France in 2012 – and they immediately destroyed a few sovereigns …..

Power in incompetent hands is as dangerous as the ‘rational efficient markets hypothesis’ but almost certainly more useful to keep an eye on at the mo ….. the matrixsquidesque elite in particular … to get this group to take notice, according to blind biddy, you gotta kick them suficiently hard in the balls that you knock them up against the wall ….

On Coffey – ‘there are slow moves to require bank creditors to bail-in’…

What does this mean. These rules always applied in the natural capitalist environment. These rules apllied when Anglo was gorging on cheap credit.

I am further perplexed by the suggestion that private creditor bailouts ‘has not worked’…that comment is as empty and meaningless as SF’s ‘austerity isn’t working’…that all depends on what u think the policy was supposed to produce. Austerity isn’t working in terms of creating jobs but that was never the purpose. Private creditor bailouts hasn’t worked in terms of alleviating the euro crisis but it worked just as was intended when German banks were paid in full and on time.

Coffey’s is however spot on in terms of his promissory note analysis, but this is hardly groundbreaking stuff….the ever-wise dogs in the street know it is debt write down on Anglo is what is justifiably required.

I note his guesstimate of 4% on ESM loans. When you add in irelands funding requirement to the ESM I would be very interested in seeing what level of borrowing would bring us to de facto the famous 7% breaking point. There is something perverse about having to take on ever more debt from the ESM in order that it is cost effective vis-a-vis the market.

Yesterday’s FT article by El Erian


concerning how the bailout regimes of P, I and G have driven away private capital and left the patients in a roach motel from which there is little prospect of escape reminded me of this gruesome story from India


IT HAD BEEN a bad spell for Madhubani painter Hari Kamat, and it was about to get worse. Having had almost no sales for a year, he left his village in Bihar to look for a job and ended up in Gorakhpur, 200 km from Lucknow. He was offered a job as soon as he stepped down from the bus. Two months later, he was fired for no apparent reason. Local “friends” told him they would get him another and better job — all he had to do was go for a blood test. When the results returned, he was told the quality of his blood was so good he needn’t look for regular employment, but could make a living selling his blood, earning somewhere between Rs 500-1000 per unit.

Hari had no way of knowing he was about to fall victim to a well-organised blood trade centred around Gorakhpur’s numerous private hospitals and clinics. A short while later, he was to find himself along with 16 others — 25- to 40-year-old men from across north India — imprisoned in a slum in Shahpur, two km from the Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College. For two-and-a-half years, the men were kept there, fed twice a day, and made to give blood thrice a week. Protest was impossible — the constant depletion of their blood had made them too weak

Of course you can’t do that to people nowadays but it’s fine for countries.
I am not surprised that the Spanish are saying WTF.

One way to control deposit flight, and indeed the root cause of the debt crisis, would be to make all electronic deposits legal tender.

They would no longer be liabilities of the bank, as in agreements to pay money. They would be the actual money which for all intents and purposes they are. Removing such liabilities would automatically return the banks’ balance sheets to health.

With electronic deposits as legal tender Central Banks could create them for their Governments in the same way they create cash.

Finally, as it stands, banks can only create new electronic deposits by recording a matching debtor. This practice would cease and so too would the source of the debt crisis.

@Colm McCarthy

I note that in the lead up to the Fiscal Pact Referendum you said on Morning Ireland that those campaiging for a No vote would have a lot to answer for if there was an EU intervention to assist Spanish banks and we were not eligibile for a similar deal because of the referendum being defeated. (I am sure that your assertion was made in good faith and it was doubly persuasive for that reason.)

Will those who campaigned for a Yes vote have anything to answer for if the EU does not forge ahead with a banking union and other reforms but we are nevertheless subject ot he fiscal treaty?


“Outstanding contribution from Seamus Coffey.” Sorry – me thinks not. Far from it in fact.

It seems that Seamus Coffey agrees with the notion that repaying the €25bn remaining PN over an extended period is a sensible policy. Unfortunately the only sensible policy here is take the view that the decision the Irish Govt made in providing a dime to Anglo was a wrong one. In the words of Leo Varadker ‘not a red cent more’. Despite SC arguing the ECB policies and strategies over the past number of years in relation to banking matters is generally flawed I can’t see why if most other ECB policies are deemed deficient then why the repayment, at all, of the PN is seen as sensible. This is a bizarre conclusion.

Seamus also suggests that Senior Bank Bond investors invested safe in the knowledge that in the event of the bank going bust they would always be repaid in full – no questions asked.

“The bailing-out of bank creditors has meant those with the money could provide funding to banks safe in the knowledge that public funds would be provided to make good any losses incurred The bailing-out of bank creditors has meant those with the money could provide funding to banks safe in the knowledge that public funds would be provided to make good any losses incurred”

As a long-term bank bond investor I can readily assure Seamus that his interpretation of the world of bank bond investors is seriously misplaced. Nobody can seriously suggest that a fund manager buying a 5-year AIB bond in 2005 for instance had a deep insight into the likely movement of Govt and their stance in the event of an AIB failure in the intervening period. Most sensible investors would have assumed the worst i.e. wipeout and importantly bought on that basis otherwise why would there exist a spread at all between the sovereign and the bank?

Seamus believes managers bought these instruments knowing the safe hand of the State was always on had to cushion the blow if AIB had blown up. This is simply untrue and is not representative of the facts on the ground at the time. The breathtaking stupidity of the State has ensured that Seamus’ theory has since become fact but this was not the expected outcome back in 2005. Far from it. Bondholders simply can’t believe their luck, and that’s the real truth.

Seamus also suggests that:

“Ireland can repay the money. What we need is for the ECB to wait until we are in a position to do so. Some of the costs of banking mistakes in the future will be covered by senior bondholders and possibly depositors. Ireland needs to allowed time for growth and inflation to help reduce the real cost of banking mistakes from the past”

This sounds awfully like a Mick Wallace financial strategy i.e. delay and hope. Hope is never a clever business strategy and many have learned that the hard way. We don’t need more time. We need a deal today. That deal is simple and very clear.

We the people are embarrassed by the incompetence of our elected leaders in agreeing to this daft idea that repaying the bond holders of the most insolvent banks in the world in full was naïve, stupid and long term economically suicidal. We the people have decided that it is now in fact in Irelands and Europe’s long-term interest to call a spade a spade. Bank Bond investors (of all colours) are not depositors, they are a much more sophisticated animal and they understood the risks in lending to Irish banks who themselves thought lending into property transactions at less than 1% net rental yield was a sensible business strategy. Bond investors who undertook these investing decisions should get zero when the institutions they risked their cash to fail. Repeat Zero. Nothing else will do to cleanse the system. If the ECB was stupid enough to believe otherwise and support the no bondholder left behind policy then sadly they also deserve their fate. Stupidity is not a money making scheme. Never was, never should be. Seamus knows this.

In addition to Angela donning the kid gloves and making a kind and generous unsolicited offer to Spain we now now have the French respecting that great sovereign nation Spain. Fear of failure is a great motivator.

I expect the unemployed in Ireland are hoping for a ‘sense of urgency’ too:


“The numbers at work in the economy continued to fall in the first quarter of 2012, according to figures released today by the Central Statistics Office.
Employment fell by 1 per cent or 18,100 people in the year to the first quarter of 2012, bringing the total number of people working in the labour force to 1,786,100.
According to the Quarterly National Household Survey, some 309,000 people are now out of work.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, employment fell by 0.4 per cent or 7,300 people in the quarter.
The seasonally adjusted rate of joblessness is now 14.8 per cent of the workforce.”

@Dr Angela Merkel

GO. You are in breach of the founding principle of European Solidarity.


‘German chancellor Angela Merkel doused expectations that the summit will produce a major breakthrough towards a tighter fiscal and banking union in the 17-country currency zone, saying progress would take longer.

In a television interview broadcast today, she said the euro area was moving inevitably towards a political union ceding more national sovereignty, and that would lead to more of a two-speed Europe, with non-euro states in the slow lane.

“I don’t believe that there will be one single summit that will decide on a big bang,” Dr Merkel told ARD. “But what we have been doing for some time, and on which a working plan will certainly be presented in June, is to say we need more Europe.

“Whoever is in a currency union will have to move closer together. We have to be open to make it possible for everyone to participate. But we cannot stand still because some do not want to go with us,” she said.

Most EU officials see the process of integration taking five-10 years at best, a timescale much longer than the view of the markets, although economists also argue that agreeing steps towards closer union will itself help boost market sentiment.

As the EU’s biggest economy and largest contributor, Germany holds the key to how the union comes to Spain’s rescue, and

whether Europe is able to agree on a banking union with a joint deposit guarantee and a bank resolution fund, as envisaged by the European Central Bank and the European Commission.


I managed to get time to reply to you on “Germany: No Deal on Ireland’s Bank Debt” – no. 143 I believe.

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