Mario Draghi bleibt auf Kurs

Wir wissen, es funktioniert nicht so richtig mit dem Wunder des Wiederaufbaufonds. Was also ist zu tun? Mario Draghi beweist, wie klar er die Herausforderungen versteht und wie er dabei gedenkt, seinem Heimatland zu helfen. Im Economist zeigt er seinen Weg auf, die Eurozone zu sanieren:

  • Can a monetary union survive without a fiscal union? That question has stalked the euro zone since its creation. Designed explicitly to exclude fiscal transfers, the currency bloc was considered by many economists to be doomed even before it was launched. It survived an existential crisis in 2010-12 only with stopgap solutions, and it is no closer to answering this question today.“ – bto: Es wurde den Deutschen versprochen, dass ihr Steuergeld nicht dazu verwendet wird, in der EZ umzuverteilen.
  • Yet, paradoxically, the prospects for fiscal union in the euro zone are improving—because the nature of the needed fiscal integration is changing. Fiscal union is typically seen as entailing transfers from thriving regions to those going through economic slumps, and in Europe public opposition to stronger countries supporting weaker ones remains fierce. But this type of federal ‘stabilisation’ policy has become less relevant. The euro zone has evolved in two ways that are opening up a different, and potentially more acceptable, road to fiscal union.“ – bto: Man muss auch dazu sagen, dass Studien, u.a. vom IWF zeigen, dass eine solche Stabilisierung unerhöht hohe Beträge erfordern würde, was völlig unrealistisch ist.
  • First, since 2012 the European Central Bank has developed policy tools to contain unwarranted divergence between stronger and weaker countries’ borrowing costs, and shown its willingness to use them. This has enabled national fiscal policies—which play a crucial stabilising role in the euro zone—to smooth the economic cycle. That, in turn, makes cross-border fiscal transfers less necessary.“ – bto: … weil die Verschuldung jene machen, die schon hoch verschuldet sind, was kein Problem ist, weil die EZB (also alle!) das garantieren. Das ist die Transferunion durch die Hintertür!
  • Second, Europe is no longer mainly facing crises caused by unsound policies in particular countries. Instead, it has to confront common, imported shocks like the pandemic, the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine. These shocks are too large for countries to handle on their own. Consequently, there is less opposition to addressing them through common fiscal action.“ – bto: Aha, es gibt also die Bereitschaft, das zu tun, was man eigentlich versprochen hat, nicht zu tun und was auch eindeutig nicht fair ist mit Blick auf den Hauptzahler Deutschland.
  • Europe’s response to the pandemic acknowledged this new reality: a €750bn ($810bn) fund was set up to help eu member states address the green and digital transitions. And a necessary political condition for the eu’s fiscal framework to develop along more federal lines is that countries receiving these funds use them successfully.“ – bto: Italien macht vor, dass es eben nicht funktioniert.
  • Europe must now confront a host of supranational challenges that will require vast investments in a short time frame, including defence as well as the green transition and digitisation. As it stands, however, Europe neither has a federal strategy to finance them, nor can national policies take up the mantle, as European fiscal and state-aid rules limit the ability of countries to act independently. This contrasts starkly with America, where Joe Biden’s administration is aligning federal spending, regulatory changes and tax incentives in the pursuit of national goals.“ – bto: Also: Nur mehr Schulden können dem bereits hoch verschuldeten Kontinent helfen. Ob das gut für den Geldwert ist?
  • Without action, there is a serious risk that Europe underdelivers on its climate goals, fails to provide the security its citizens demand and loses its industrial base to regions that impose fewer constraints on themselves. For this reason, sliding back passively into its old fiscal rules—which were suspended during the pandemic—would be the worst possible outcome.“ – bto: Klar. Wobei man sagen muss, dass die Verschuldung ja eigentlich dazu hätte führen müssen, dass wir in der EU super dastehen.
  • Europe therefore has two options. One is to relax its fiscal and state-aid rules, allowing member states to shoulder the full burden of the necessary investment. But as fiscal space in the euro zone is not evenly distributed, such an approach would be fundamentally wasteful. Shared challenges like climate and defence are binary: either all countries achieve their common goals or none does. If some countries can use their fiscal space but others cannot, then the impact of all spending is lower, as none are able to achieve climate or military security.“ – bto: Weil Italien das Geld schon ausgegeben hat, ist es benachteiligt. Das muss dann über Transfers korrigiert werden?
  • The second option is to redefine the eu’s fiscal framework and decision-making process to make them commensurate with our shared challenges. (…) Fiscal rules should be both strict, to ensure governments’ finances are credible over the medium term, and flexible, to allow governments to react to unforeseen shocks. The current set of rules is neither, leading to policies that are too loose in booms and too tight in busts. The European Commission’s proposal would go a long way towards addressing such procyclicality. But even if fully implemented, it would not fully resolve the trade-off between strict rules—which need to be automatic to be credible—and flexibility.“ – bto: Es genügt also nicht, weil es eben immer noch eine Regel ist.
  • This can be resolved only by transferring more spending powers to the centre, which in turn makes possible more automatic rules for the member states. That is broadly the situation in America, where an empowered federal government sits alongside largely inflexible fiscal rules for the states, which are mostly prohibited from running deficits. Balanced-budget rules are credible—with the ultimate sanction of default—precisely because the federal level takes care of the bulk of discretionary spending.“ – bto: Kein Land in der Eurozone will die fiskalische Autonomie aufgeben.
  • If Europe were to federalise some of the investment spending needed for today’s shared goals, it could achieve a similar balance. Federal borrowing and spending would lead to greater efficiency and more fiscal space, as aggregate borrowing costs would be lower. National fiscal policies could then be more focused on reducing debt and building up buffers for bad times. More automatic fiscal rules would become feasible, and member states could credibly fail.“ – bto: Das setzt eine Aufgabe der fiskalischen Autonomie voraus, die kein Staat will. Übrigens steigen die Kosten für Deutschland noch.
  • „Forging a closer union will ultimately prove to be the only way to deliver the security and prosperity that European citizens crave.“ – bto: Wie mehr Schulden, Planwirtschaft und Umverteilung die Eurozone und damit die EU stabilisieren, bleibt mir verschlossen. Es fehlt die Einsicht, dass der ehemalige Anker der Währungsunion, oder auch der Zahlmeister, wenn man es so sagen will, mutwillig und ideologisch verblendet gerade sich selbst zerlegt. Wer soll das bezahlen?

Mario Draghi vertritt die Interessen seiner Heimat beharrlich und vehement. Das ehrt ihn. Leider gibt es niemanden, der hier entschieden und kompetent entgegentritt. (Anmeldung erforderlich): „Mario Draghi on the path to fiscal union in the euro zone“, 6. September 2023