In our previous post we warned, indirectly through the IMF, that the biggest risk for Europe is the inability to reach consensus over anything from the most complicated, to the simplest matter. As noted previously, one of the main initial drivers of the market surge which has since translated into yet another short covering rally of epic proportions was the belief that Europe can actually come together in agreement over the simplest thing - like its own survival. Alas, it appears even that is not the case. As Bloomberg reports, "Germany and France are at odds over whether the European Financial Stability Facility should have limits on government bond purchases, Handelsblatt reported, citing an unidentified high-ranking European Union diplomat. France doesn’t want to restrict the EFSF on how much of its funds it can use for such purchases, the newspaper said in a preview of an article to appear in tomorrow’s edition. Germany wants to limit the amount EFSF can spend for bonds per country and is also considering whether there should be a time limit for bond purchases, Handelsblatt said." Said otherwise, here comes the latest cause of discord within Europe. Unfortunately, it also means that any rumor, innuendo and speculation that Europe has finally reached a coherent union over its own bailout can be promptly discarded. As if there was ever any doubt in the first place.
In Berlin and Paris argue about EFSF
Exclusive The euro rescue package to buy bonds from future debts States. But with how much money? France wants to give the fund a free hand - for the rescue could not stay no longer enough to fear Germany.
Brussels is a dispute between Germany and France erupted over the extent to which the euro rescue fund future EFSF may buy government bonds. France wanted to make the EFSF this respect no rules, told the Handelsblatt by a senior EU diplomat. This would theoretically mean that the EFSF could not use its entire volume of funding expended to buy bonds of a single Euro-state.
EFSF has a total of 440 billion euros, has been a part of it, however, scheduled for the loan packages to Ireland and Portugal. The federal government wants to limit the amount used for bond purchases per euro government, it said in Brussels. Think Germany will also share in a time limit on bond purchases.
The purchase of government bonds is one of three new instruments may have on the future of advanced EFSF. The design of these new instruments will be governed by guidelines to deal with the high officials of the euro finance ministers in Brussels at present. The guidelines must then be approved by the Budget Committee of the Bundestag. The German Parliament has made this a condition for agreeing to extended EFSF.
Cue the FT, Liesman, and/or some IMF guy we have never heard of with attempts to deny what is painfully obvious: Europe will never reach a consensus because the ultimate price of a European bailout is the absolutely certain suicide of the currently ruling political class. Alas, none of those bureaucrats wants to (or can) do anything else but "rule"...
And if the IMF advisor is right, Europe has less than a month to prove us wrong.