â€œWe do not have a federal budget, so the idea that we could do the same as what is done on the other side of the Atlantic doesnâ€™t fit with the political structure of Europe,â€
Jean-Claude Trichet, commenting last week on the Eupean “summit” in Paris last Saturday
“If you concentrate on California or Florida, it is not at all like Massachusetts or Alaska……It is the same in our case and we have to make a judgment what is good for the full body of the 320 million people” in the euro area.”
Jean Claude Trichet in an interview with Ireland’s RTE radio last July, following the controversial decision to raise ECB interest rates to 4.25%
“Europe gives up on a joint rescue plan against the crisis,” since the EU “lacks the necessary institutions to respond as the United States has done”.
Spain’s El Pais yesterday (Sunday 5 October)
For Europe, this is more than just a banking crisis. Unlike in the US, it could develop into a monetary regime crisis. A systemic banking crisis is one of those few conceivable shocks with the potential to destroy Europeâ€™s monetary union. The enthusiasm for creating a single currency was unfortunately never matched by an equal enthusiasm to provide the correspondingly effective institutions to handle financial crises. Most of the time, it does not matter. But it matters now. For that reason alone, the case for a European rescue plan is overwhelming.
Wolfgang Munchau, The Financial Times, Monday 6 October 2008
The euro experienced its biggest one-day drop against the yen in seven years this morning as the deepening credit crisis prompted European governments to pledge bailouts for troubled banks while stopping short of giving any concrete programme of coordinated action. The 15-nation currency declined to a 14-month low against the dollar – hitting $1.3598 at 8:52 a.m. in London – and to its weakest in two years versus the yen after European leaders meeting this weekend avoided announcing any plan that would be equivalent to the U.S.’s $700 billion bailout. And the reason for the euro’s fall is clear, the ability of the eurozone countries to apply a concerted startegy to address the problems in the banking and financial system has been called into question, and nowhere is the huge gap between the currency’s ambition and its political architecture so evident as it is in the above two quotes from Jean Claude Trichet. When push comes to shove, the US Treasury, as we have seen last week, does not concentrate on the needs of Florida or Massachusetts, but on those of the entire United States, and who, may we ask is in a position to concentrate at this point on the financing needs of the whole 15 member eurozone-area, since trying to manage economies which are one organic whole by splitting them analytically into monetary and fiscal entitites simply isn’t going to work, and it never was. Let me expain. Continue reading