European Finance Ministers Driven To Despair As Reality Returns
The release of the Troika report (stating the what-we-all-know that is much larger haircuts will be needed for any type of debt sustainability) seemed to bring events this weekend in Europe to an early halt, according to SudDeutsche. As the sheer mathematical certainty of the event horizon that is Europe these days is slammed at light speed into the foreheads of the European cognoscenti, we finally see some actual frustration, foot-stomping, and 'throw-your-teddy-bear-out-of-the-pram'-ness. The Telegraph reports on some choice turns-of-phrase among the leading players, our favorite being:
"It was grim. The worst mood I have ever seen, a complete mess," said one eurozone finance minister.
But it only got better from there, with several of the major movers feeling the need to express their frustration (and what is German for Schadenfreude?) at the lunacy of what SudDeutsche reports was in the Troika debt sustainability report (via Google Translate).
The numbers that the Troika on Friday evening on the debt situation in Greece is presented, have altered the agenda of the Euro-Finance completely. Really wanted the department heads to advise [if] they need to convince the country's private creditors to agree on a bigger discount on the bonds held by them, than the previously planned 21 percent.
But the "if" was suddenly a "how high?". Because the inspectors of the Greek lender describe in their "debt sustainability report," a scenario that far surpasses any fears. The country needs even under "normal" conditions, so if everything goes as planned with the reforming and saving, at least 252 billion euros , by 2020 to get back on its feet.
If the economy collapses further, state enterprises can not be privatized as hoped, nor do the reforms [produce the] € 444 billion needed to [please] the inspectors. So it is suddenly clear: the euro rescue fund EFSF is hardly sufficient for more countries to save, and his successor, the latest from 2013 operational ESM also not good.
"It is clear that a substantial debt cut is necessary," however, said Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg....
The Exchequer George Osborne sharply criticized the actions of the euro partners: "The crisis in the euro-zone causes major damage in many European economies, including Britain," he shouted in Brussels, adding: "We have had enough of short-term measures, it enough, paving draufzukleben that bring us through the next few weeks. " Europe must tackle the causes of the crisis. Used to be a comprehensive and lasting solution to the crisis, so that growth in Europe could begin rising again.
... The Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn announced immediately to resist. "What we need now is rest and no whip," he said.
A stronger economic cooperation is also possible on the basis of existing treaties. "It is important that we do not open another front," said Asselborn. "It can not be that domestic political considerations of even the greatest country outweigh everything."
It was clear that the reality of the size of loan required to 'solve' Greece alone will likely leave the cupboard bare:
Jan Kees de Jager, the Dutch finance minister, told colleagues: "We've got to get real. People are talking about new defences but with one gulp the whole €440 billion could be gone, leaving the eurozone with no protection at all."
According to insiders, Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany's finance minister, could not resist taking an "I told you so" approach - he had been, after all, the first to call for an "orderly" default for Greece 18 months ago, at a time when the cost of such a move was less than one third of the price today.
"Schaeuble is a man who does not mince his words, whose reputation for harshness and arrogance is well earned. He was, frankly, unbearable," said one diplomat.
And Baroin (France) to IMF swiftly followed by Lagarde (France/IMF)'s slapdown:
Francois Baroin, the young and inexperienced French finance minister,
attempted to hit back, complaining that the IMF's default medicine would hit
France the hardest; the country's banks are highly exposed and could
threaten its "untouchable" AAA rating.
But Mrs Lagarde, who had held his post until taking up the IMF job this
summer, "shut him up" by brandishing the report and pointing to it
its detailed figures. "She really slapped him down - and in perfect
English too, a language he cannot speak," said a diplomat.
We suspect many of the attendees (finance ministers) have not actually spoken to one another, read any serious research, or even attempted to comprehend the whole-versus-the-single sub-optimal decisions they face (until very recently) as their voluminous outbursts were incredible:
"Their shouting could be heard down the corridor in the concert hall where an orchestra was about to play the EU's anthem, Ode to Joy," said an incredulous EU official.
It did not stop there as the pointlessness of the meeting was highlighted as it became increasingly clear that the good old Franco-German comradeship may be fraying at the core and at the edges and without them.
Finance ministers - including George Osborne, the Chancellor - expressed frustration on Saturday that their emergency meeting could take no decisions of substance until Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy had buried the hatchet.
"This Ecofin meeting has been reduced to an academic seminar, an exercise with absolutely no purpose," complained one finance minister. complained one finance minister.
For those expecting any solution that is more than a simple kick-the-can hold-your-breath for the final solution, we suggest hedges asap on Sunday night as it is crystal clear that nothing of substance will be created soon and furthermore, we wonder whether this is some elaborate global game to force the Fed to rescue everyone by flooding it with greenbacks.