Will This Euro-Mess Ever End?
The EU summit agreement has four main points:
All these steps are important and make sense; had they been taken earlier, we would not have been where we are today. Perhaps the most phenomenal aspect is the fact that even the German Chancellor Angela Merkel emerged as a winner in domestic politics , as the eurobond remains dead (instead of her), apparently thanks to some hardball negotiation tactics by France, Italy, and Spain.
Unfortunately, reality sunk in quickly again.
As reported by Die Spiegel, the very creation of the European Stability Mechanism, or ESM, will be subject to Germany's constitutional court review on Tuesday, after the parliament rectified the EU summit agreement Merkel brought back. FT Alphaville has started laughing at the "loss of super-senior status" bit before the ink was dry. Finland and the Netherlands have objected to one part of the agreement in a very public way.
And, as reported by the Wall Street Journal Friday , "a senior European Union official with direct knowledge of the situation" said that "euro-zone countries would still have to guarantee the loans the permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, gives their banks even if it directly recapitalizes them."
Oops, you mean stretching a circular logic does not change its topology? And even then, the ESM "won't happen in the first half of 2013" anyway. OK, let's go home and get back on that euro short, then.
Cynicism aside, I think this time is a little bit different. At least it makes some sense this time, unlike the very recent Spanish bank bailout solution , for example. In other words, while there continues to be no reason for hope, at least we also continue to avoid despair. This is about the best thing one can possibly say about the eurozone affair.