I’ve stated before that I fully believe Germany will be leaving the Euro. With that in mind, I want to draw your attention to recent comments from Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble.
Wolfgang Schauble admits euro bail-out fund won't halt crisis
Europe's "big bazooka" bail-out fund is not ready and won't stem the debt crisis that on Tuesday pounded Italy and the European Central Bank (ECB), admitted Wolfgang Schauble, Germany's finance minister.
This is a pretty strong admission from the finance minister of the country that Europe looks to as a financial backstop. And the following is even more disconcerting for the future of the Euro:
Seeing in Crisis the Last Best Chance to Unite Europe
MR. SCHÄUBLE said the German government would propose treaty changes at the summit of European leaders in Brussels on Dec. 9 that would move Europe closer to the centralized fiscal government that the currency zone has lacked. The ultimate goal, Mr. Schäuble says, is a political union with a European president directly elected by the people.
“What we’re now doing with the fiscal union, what I’m describing here, is a short-term step for the currency,” Mr. Schäuble said. “In a larger context, naturally we need a political union.”
Critics say the spending cuts German leaders have demanded from other countries are hurting growth across the Continent, in the process making debts only harder to repay. And his proposals to give the European Commission far-reaching powers to enforce budgetary discipline have been likened by skeptics in Britain to an invasive new “super state.” Even some euro supporters fear that Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Schäuble are talking about long-term changes while panicked investors and practiced speculators are tearing the euro to pieces right now.
“There is a limited transition period where we have to manage the nervousness on the markets,” Mr. Schäuble said. “If it is clear that by the end of 2012 or the middle of 2013 that we have all the ingredients for new, strengthened and deepened political structures together, I think that will work.”
He sees the turmoil as not an obstacle but a necessity. “We can only achieve a political union if we have a crisis,” Mr. Schäuble said.
Note that Schauble repeatedly emphasizes the goal of a “political union,” NOT a “fiscal union” or “monetary union.” Indeed, his one reference to a “fiscal union” is in the “short-term,” while stressing that in a “larger context” the EU needs a “political union.”
The message here is very, very clear: Germany is interested in the EU as a political entity, NOT the Euro as a currency. With that in mind, consider the following story which received almost NO attention from the media:
-German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives on Monday passed a resolution at a party convention urging the government to establish rules in Europe that would allow a country to voluntarily leave the euro zone without giving up membership in the European Union.
The resolution reads:
"Should a member [of the euro zone] be unable or unwilling to permanently obey the rules connected to the common currency he will be able to voluntarily--according to the rules of the Lisbon Treaty for leaving the European Union--leave the euro zone without leaving the European Union. He would receive the same status as those member states that do not have the euro."
I fully believe that Germany is laying the groundwork for it to leave the Euro while still remaining a member of the EU. The alternative to this would be for Germany to demand other nations give up their fiscal sovereignty and make Germany a kind of monetary authority in exchange for additional bailouts. However, the likelihood of this option being presented is next to ZERO as ALL of Europe remembers WWII and the threat of German rule.
So I expect Germany to duck out of the Euro in the near future. It may happen in the next few weeks or it may happen in early 2012. But considering that the Federal Reserve had to step in to save the European banking system today I believe it will be sooner rather than later.
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