EU CRISIS: Save the banks and save the EU, but do try to remember the economy.

As days go in the EU, this one has been better than most. Most of the financial sites and press have declared that that the eurozone still has a pulse. There has been much talk about ezone members “finally getting it”, and praise for Mario Draghi showing an increased willingness to use ECB funds to help. But as Draghi himself knows only too well, much of the praise (enthusiasm, even) has been for illegality.

Under its Articles, the IMF should not be lending money to any nation it feels is unlikely to pay it back – but it continues to lend to Greece. Under its Articles, it should not be accepting 200bn euro gifts from central banks – but this is now the plan on the table for drip-feeding funds to Italy and Spain. In turn, the central banks shouldn’t be laundering lending funds through a US based operation in order to bankroll a profligate, corrupt EU. This has been spotted by the Republicans, who this morning EST signalled their intention to block the scheme.

However, with Merkel dragging Sarkozy along with her towards instant fiscal unification, her finance minister Wolfgang Schauble pulling strings to find funds to forgive everyone for everything, and Lagarde’s IMF chucking figures like $500bn around, the market have calmed down considerably: bond yields have fallen for two days in a row. There is still hope, people say.

I would refer Sloggers back to a piece I posted on November 23rd about how, from now on, the accelerator of any crisis would be bank failure. The much-heralded reopening of CDS swap lines and access to Dollar funds announced earlier this week was not – as most of the media insisted – ‘America stepping in to save the EU’. It was a Wall St-run US stepping in to stop a major French bank from collapsing….and taking BoA with it. If you think this a fanciful conclusion, take a look at these two telling statistics.

First, borrowing by eurozone banks from the ECB jumped nearly fourfold this week. To be precise, it jumped from 2.2bn to 8.7bn euros – the highest since last March, when Ireland’s banks were in serious trouble. This is a Lehman waiting to happen.

Second, for every bank in the eurozone happy to lend during the last fortnight, there have been forty desperate to borrow.

Mind-concentrating figures to take into the weekend. Even if the euro is saved, Europe still needs an economy. It won’t be kick-started by stealth taxes, braindead politicians recycling money to pay off infrastructural debts, and suicidal banks. Factory orders in the EU going forward are truly awful. We are in the business of saving political reputations and stupid banks here. But nothing can save Europe’s economy, in or outside the eurozone: it is descending into a pit of slippery darkness.