Finland's Proposal: Cash For Collateral
The strawmen are coming thick and fast from the EU Summit as they break for an evening snack. Between banking union 'plans' by year-end and ESM credit seniority exemptions for Spain, the Finnish Minister for European Union Affairs, Alexander Stubb, just suggested that EU rescue funds (ESM/EFSF) could potentially partly guarantee Italy's and Spain's bonds if the two countries provide collateral. Such 'covered bonds' reduced his country's borrowing costs during an economic crisis in the 1990s, and now "could be a solution which would bring down the interest rates of Spain and Italy." As Bloomberg notes, the proposal was "a halfway house" between no help at all for weaker eurozone members and full debt mutualization, and a response to those "trying to say that governments such as Finland, Germany and the Netherlands keep on (only) saying no." Unfortunately, as we are all too well aware, despite this being a "constructive proposal from the Finnish government", there is no quality collateral (and certainly trusting earmarks on tax revenue is unlikely to spur demand) leaving the only government asset worth thinking about - Gold - which leads us back to Germany's uber-solution the whole time. "At the end of the day, EU Summits are always some kind of compromise" Stubb added, by which we assume the periphery compromises its sovereignty (and gold) and the Core compromises its taxpayers.
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