We have often discussed the temporary and tenuous nature of any and all government-suggested solutions so far to the European crisis on the basis that the 'model' is broken. Following the decision to go for PSI, and the possibility of a sovereign leaving the Euro-zone (Greek referendum ultimatum), money is no longer fungible in and across European banks (deposits) and sovereigns as it seeks the stability of a narrower and narrower core. Arnaud Mares, of Morgan Stanley, who wrote the initial and definitive Greek story long before most others, brings up this very point; questioning the fungibility of Greek Euro deposits with French Euro deposits, for example, and interpreting the situation as a 'run on banks and governments'. His view that without a clear path to a fiscal lender of last resort - or a true fiscal federalism across a united Europe - which ensures solvent governments will never go illiquid, then the December 9th decisions mark a bifurcation point of critical import.
If governments choose to engage on the route to fiscal federalism, we believe that this does not mark the end of the crisis. It could, however, mark the beginning of the end of the crisis, as it would be a decisive first step towards stabilisation and a European federation. The alternative could well be the beginning of the end for the European confederation.
Europe has to choose between debt assumption (enhanced federal control of national budgets accompanied by centralised funding of governments) and a debt jubilee (wide-scale debt repudiation), with all the social, economic and political consequences this entails. Mares' four-question-framework for considering the words and deeds of December 9th is critical, though complex, reading to comprehend the tipping point we are at.