December 05, 2011

Europe, the Basel Committee should and needs to be blamed for the crisis.

Sir, Wolfgang Münchau goes to the core of the European issue when he writes that its leaders’ narrative, which reduces the crisis to a failure of fiscal discipline, is probably the underlying reason why all their crisis resolutions efforts have failed so far”, “France and Germany look set to fudge it yet again”, December 5.

Indeed, had the European leaders understood two letters that I wrote and were published by FT, the narrative would be quite different, in fact Europe could perhaps not even be facing this crisis.

The first letter, January 2003 said “Everyone knows that, sooner or later, the ratings issued by the credit agencies are just a new breed of systemic errors, about to be propagated at modern speeds”. The second, October 2004, “Our bank supervisors in Basel are unwittingly controlling the capital flows in the world. How many Basel propositions it will take before they start realizing the damage they are doing by favoring so much bank lending to the public sector [sovereigns]?

From the content of those two letters it is easy to understand that no matter what intrinsic and real problems the eurozone has and no matter the natural fiscal indiscipline of politicians in general, Europe would not have faced this crisis had the bank regulators in Basel known better.