“Should Merkel embrace Macron’s vision for eurozone reform?”

In der FT diskutieren Isabelle Mateos y Lago von Blackrock (und früher IWF) und Hans-Werner Sinn, ob die deutsche Bundesregierung auf die Vorschläge Frankreichs eingehen sollte. Klassisches Pro und Kontra, was nur angesichts der Güte der jeweiligen Kommentare interessant ist:

Zunächst die Pro-Seite (Isabelle Mateos y Lago):

  • “While, on the face of it, the contrast could not be starker, the French president and the German chancellor agree on one essential point: If we stand still, we will be pulverised, as Ms Merkel put it. Still, what they offer are perhaps not two alternative visions but rather end-game versus what is politically feasible today.” – bto: was bei unserer Kanzlerin ja nicht überrascht. Es geht um den Machterhalt in Tippelschritten.
  • “If Mr Macron’s vision is more right, then it is primarily because the time to move boldly is now. Markets reminded us during Italian coalition talks that they can veer quickly from complacency to panic. Calm has largely returned but it would be unwise to take it for granted.” – bto: Und daran würden auch die Reformen von Macron nichts ändern. Nur, wenn wir völlige Schuldensozialisierung machen, ist Italien dauerhaft ruhig. 
  • “For all the progress accomplished since the eurozone debt crisis in reducing vulnerabilities, there is a large unfinished agenda. The bank-sovereign doom loop still exists, as does the potential for cross-border contagion. The eurozone may still flare up if placed under stress.” – bto: Was ist mit fehlender Konvergenz? Was ist mit hohen Staats- und Privatschulden? Was ist mit fehlender Wettbewerbsfähigkeit?
  • “(…) Germany only agreed to the single currency in the first place on condition that its members be bound by the rule book it practised at home: monetary policy that is focused on low inflation and fiscal policy that keeps public debt and deficits low. Almost 19 years into this experiment, we have learnt three things.” – bto: Nein, wir haben eine Sache gelernt. Es funktioniert nicht.
  • “First, if a member state develops a positive competitiveness gap (as Germany did in the 2000s), other countries, lacking the option of devaluation, can close the gap only through real adjustments (such as wage restraint or productivity-boosting policies). If the gap is not closed, growth will generate large current account imbalances that will trigger crises when funding dries up.” – bto: Und was ist mit der Übernachfrage der Länder, basierend auf Schulden? Ist das kein Problem?
  • “Second, if countries’ business cycles start to diverge, the single monetary policy will exacerbate the divergence, as it will be too loose for overheating countries and too tight for those in recession. Effective fiscal policy tools are essential to counter this centrifugal force. But by design the use of fiscal policy is constrained and will be far more so in the next crisis because all member states bar Germany will go into it with much higher ratios of debt to gross domestic product.” – bto: Fiskalpolitik ist ja nicht verboten, nur, wenn die Schulden schon so hoch sind. Vorher haben sich die Zyklen über Währungsanpassungen angeglichen.
  • “Finally, these rules may work well for Germany but do not for Italy, while the other eurozone members are somewhere in between. From here, one of two things must happen: either Germany accepts a change in rules that makes the eurozone work for countries that cannot or do not want to adopt the German economic model; or Italy decides it has a better future outside the single currency bloc, a step that would probably wreck the European financial system and may even lead other countries to the same conclusion.” – bto: Deshalb sollen wir einem Modell zustimmen, das immer und dauerhaft Gläubiger über Inflation enteignet. Wow.
  • “Mr Macron’s view is (…)  more public and private risk-sharing (bto: Was soll das heißen, wie wirkt es, was ändert es? Wir wissen vom IWF, dass es gar nicht groß genug sein kann, weil der Privatsektor nicht mitmacht.), more symmetry (bto: Und ist das?) and more latitude in dealing with shocks and imbalances are essential. ( bto: dito, blabla). The specific instruments are negotiable. They do not have to entail the end of discipline, mutualisation of legacy risks or Germany bankrolling the alleged follies of others.” – bto: Ja, was denn sonst?!
  • “(…) the next (crisis) may deal the killer blow. Failure to address this risk in time will place a significant risk premium on European assets in anticipation of the potential damage to come. Prevention may seem costly but inaction would be more so.” – bto: genau. Wenn Du Deine Suppe nicht aufisst, regnet es eine Woche lang. Und das ist das beste Niveau, was die FT für den Kommentar aufgetrieben hat?

Dann die Contra-Seite (Hans-Werner Sinn)

  • “In his Sorbonne speech in September, President Macron warned of exposing Europeans to the forces of unbridled competition and advocated a treaty change to establish a fiscal union with international financial transfers, a eurozone finance minister and a eurozone budget.” – bto: der Traum des europäischen Sozialstaats, finanziert aus gemeinsamen Kassen (durch die Deutschen).
  • Under pressure, Ms Merkel has agreed to convert the European Stability Mechanism into a European Monetary Fund under intergovernmental control. She advocates a European investment fund to help less competitive member states and is even endorsing Mr Macron’s demand for a eurozone budget.” – bto: Wieder einmal hat Merkel unseren Wohlstand verschwendet für den eigenen Machterhalt. Danke.
  • “(…) Germany went out of its way to provide financial assistance to member states in trouble and mitigate market-imposed austerity. It was pressed by France to co-finance voluminous fiscal rescue funds in 2010 and 2015, is the largest guarantor of the European Central Bank’s credit default insurance, known as the OMT, and provides by far the largest stock of target overdraft credit to other European countries, currently €956bn.” – bto: Auch das ist Merkel völlig egal.
  • “(…) Macron’s supporters argue that the eurozone needs an international insurance system to help absorb temporary exogenous shocks. But insurance is impossible when shocks result from bursting domestic bubbles and flawed policies. Moreover, temporary transfers are in danger of becoming permanent such as those that flow to southern Italy, the south of Spain and east Germany. They impede development through what economists call the Dutch disease, a reference to the difficulties encountered by the Netherlands in the 1960s and 1970s after a boom driven by natural gas sales.” – bto: So ist es. Es gibt einfach keine ökonomische Logik.
  • “Fortunately, Ms Merkel does not endorse a common deposit insurance scheme (bto: NOCH nicht, das kommt als Nächstes.), which would enable the EU’s zombie banks to collect funds from all over Europe and invest them in dubious projects. That proposal rings alarm bells in Germany, whose Landesbanks turned into casinos when German states protected depositors and lenders. The US had a similarly bad experience with its savings banks in the 1980s. Common deposit insurance mutualised the banks’ risks and enabled them to attract nearly unlimited funds for gambling activities. National and private versions of deposit insurance are better suited to limit moral hazard.” – bto: Und dabei haben wir noch nicht mal von den Altlasten gesprochen, für die wir auch aufkommen sollen.
  • “Europe is at a crossroads: either it will keep mutualising risks and liabilities and rely on government intervention or it will settle for the competitive equilibrium of a prosperous market economy.” – bto: Lieber Herr Sinn, es ist doch klar, was kommt. Man wird die deutsche Bilanz maximal belasten.
  • “(…) Europe would be well advised to learn from the US experience and return to a policy of hard budget constraints, concentrating its efforts on security, border control, defence and other kinds of public goods.” – bto: ja, wäre es. Aber alles wollen die Politiker, nur keine harten Budget-Grenzen. Also ist die Antwort klar.

ft.com (Anmeldung erforderlich): “Should Merkel embrace Macron’s vision for eurozone reform?”, 27. Juni 2018