Small French retreat, not many dead.
‘European Union leaders made some progress toward a strategy to fight the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis on Sunday, nearing agreement on bank recapitalization and on how to leverage their rescue fund to try to stop bond market contagion.’
So sayeth Reuters this morning, although almost none of it is true. There is still total deadlock, I am told, on the next stage for Greece, where a growing minority wants the debt largely forgiven and/or restructured; the bank recapitalisation can be agreed by every country on the planet, but the bankers are thus far not prepared to play ball…certainly not at 60%, although some would settle for 40%; and while progress has been made in breaking Sarko’s specially made shovel for digging into the ECB, at the last press conference yesterday they were all over the place: maybe China and India would buy EU bonds if we change the rules on how many they can buy, maybe they’d rather walk over glass, maybe the ECB will play a role on the end, maybe we’ll only partially insure the debts.
There are also, along with the banks, three other factors nobody involved in EUnacy can control: the CDU’s eurosceptical wing, the German voter, and the timeline. This last will blow them all away in the end – as events usually do in these circumstances. Italian insolvency and French banking collapses are the two biggest probabalilities…along with, as always, ridiculously optimistic outlooks about Greece. The Troika at least is for real on that issue; everyone else is going “Not there not there not there can’t see yooooooo”.
Before one gets into the Reuters website proper, a Deutsche Bank ad greets the reader. Its strapline promises, ‘Smarter liquidity with stealth’. I am left wondering who the target audience was for the spot, but like many others this morning, I hope and pray it might have been the circus clowns described briefly above.
Never in the field of stonewalling human diplomacy has so little been achieved by so few on behalf of so many. Bear in mind that yesterday (Sunday) was supposed to be the final, double-dog, no mucking about Last Chance for the EU to announce to the world The Big Plan to save the single currency.
Only ten days ago, Sarkozy and Merkel swore blind they had this Plan, and that the details would have to follow later, because the Plan was so incredibly, unbelievably, cleverly complex, only a medium-length encyclopaedia could contain it. At the time, The Slog said “bollocks”….and so it has turned out. Today, we find ourselves deficient in even an outline Plan, let alone the incredibly detailed magnificence of an etc etc etc Plan. Mario Draghi clearly needs more time – although this observation is a tad unfair on a bloke who isn’t even in the job yet.
So what did the Commissars achieve over the weekend? Well, the EU member States which are not Italy have put ‘great pressure’ on Italy to avoid debt contagion. However, like London’s Lord Mayor in 1665 advising Mr & Mrs Pustule to avoid plague contagion, the crowd beyond Rome is deficient in the how bit of such advice.
And now for the bad news. The incredibly complex and majestic solution promised by SarkoMerkel Incorporated has been transformed into “We think there will be a breakthrough some time in midweek”. But rest assured: the banks have been given until June 2012 to comply with the new capital/liquidity ratios….which, at 8%, are laughably insufficient for one sovereign bankruptcy, let alone three. Things aren’t helped either by the near-certainty that without some kind of practical action now, the number of banks still standing eight months down the can-strewn road is likely to be less than the digits on one human hand.
However, there was still time for the obligatory group photocall. This will come in useful later when trying to identify those deserving of a short ride in the tumbril.
Para deleted after visiting raw research data. Apologies.
Yesterday’s Sloggers were keen to know where The Slog is. All I can say for now is, rule out Skeggy.
Zey seek eem ‘ere/ Zey seek ‘eem zair/Zose elites seek eem everywhere
Izzee in Sverdlosk, or sat on the bog/ Zat demmed elusive swine, The Slog.