September 21, 2018

In the case of Greece EU violated a fundamental principle of a Union... solidarity.

Sir, Jem Eskenazi in his letter writes about EU’s “fundamental principle of integrating a fractured continent into a peaceful whole”“EU is right to protect its fundamental principles” September 21.

I agree but EU authorities have egregiously violated that principle in the case of Greece. 

Given Greece’s historical trajectory as a debtor country, for purposes of the capital requirements for banks, it could perhaps have been assigned a 200% risk weight. Instead some of EU’s head-honchos, I have no names, there usually are no names behind these decisions, decided to risk weigh Greece 0%. 

That, in very simple terms, meant that European banks did not need to hold one single euro in capital when lending to the sovereign of Greece. So of course European banks could not resist the temptations of lending massively to Greece, and of course the Greek government did not have the strength to resist such offers, and so of course it all ended up in a tragic over-indebtedness.

But did EU recognize its role creating this mess and has really paid up for its mistake? No! So now all newborn Greeks will have to grow up in a land burden by a monstrous mortgage, more than € 30.000 for each one of them,unless they decide to emigrate. That is no way to treat a member of a union.

Neither have EU authorities, like the European Commission, dedicated itself sufficiently to solve the immense challenges the euro poses, busying themselves instead with so many other minutia and issues that are none of their business.

There will soon be 20 years since the euro was adopted, and at that time I wrote an Op-ed titled “Burning the bridges in Europe” that should give me some rights to opine. 

I do not believe EU authorities, like the European Commission, has dedicated itself sufficiently to solve the challenges posed by the euro and which, if left unresolved, could lead to a tragic break up of EU, with immense consequences to the world. I have seen it though engaging in minutia, like negotiating entry fees for tourists to Romanian monasteries, and which has only lead me to think about a Banana Union. 

Sir, I would not have voted for Brexit but now I am not really sure. Lately, some of the discussions remind me of passengers in a lifeboat trying to negotiate their future with the captain of the Titanic, in this case Commander Michel Barnier.

PS. I forgot to mention the fact that the euro is not a real domestic currency for any eurozone nation, which makes the 0% risk weight even harder to explain.

PS. again, even with a hard Brexit, if the euro challenges are kept unresolved, Britain might end up having left EU in the nick of time