Tuesday October 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
24o C
16o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Euro area bonds to be discussed at informal EU summit, officials say

French President Francois Hollande and like-minded euro zone leaders are expected to promote the idea of mutualized European debt at an informal summit in Brussels this week, increasing pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to drop her opposition to the proposal.

Senior EU and US officials said Hollande raised the topic of euro area bonds - bonds jointly underwritten by all euro zone member states - during G8 talks at the weekend and would again push it when EU leaders meet in Brussels on May 23.

He is expected to have backing from Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the European Commission, which has long been a backer of euro area bonds, producing a feasibility study on them late last year before the initiative was pushed to the background.

The rapid deterioration in the euro zone debt crisis over the past month, with Greece's potential exit from the 17-country currency bloc no longer taboo, has brought the idea back to the forefront, with many economists and policymakers arguing it would be one of the best ways of restoring market confidence.

"The euro bonds debate is back front and center and Hollande will have support from other leaders if he raises it,» one EU official said.

"It's not something that's going to happen overnight - there's a lot that needs to fall into place first - but there is a desire for a plan of action toward euro bonds."

The summit on Wednesday is scheduled to focus on growth and investment, with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy wanting leaders to agree specific steps to stimulate growth and create jobs across the EU.

Proposals are expected to include boosting the paid-in capital of the European Investment Bank and plans for 'project bonds' underwritten by the EU budget to finance infrastructure.

The aim is to agree ideas that can be formally signed off at the next summit on June 28-29.

But the victory of Hollande's socialist party in France has not only shifted the euro zone crisis debate more towards growth, while not abandoning austerity, it has also given renewed voice to ideas that Merkel has successfully pushed aside over the past two years, including debt mutualization.

Merkel has said she is not opposed to jointly underwritten euro area bonds per se, but believes it can only be discussed once the conditions are right, including much closer economic integration and coordination across the euro zone, including on fiscal matters.

That remains a long way off.

In its paper on what it calls «stability bonds», unveiled in November, the Commission said it was not an idea that could be deferred forever, saying the severity of the crisis - which has only worsened since - meant quicker action needed to be taken.

"While common issuance has typically been regarded as a longer-term possibility, the more recent debate has focused on potential near-term benefits as a way to alleviate tension in the sovereign debt market,» the paper said.

"In this context, the introduction of Stability Bonds would not come at the end of a process of economic and fiscal convergence, but would come in parallel with further convergence and foster the establishment and implementation of the necessary framework for such convergence."

That is language that Monti, an economist and former European commissioner, has supported in the past and is expected to second in the discussions on Wednesday.

"Whatever the timeframe was before on moving towards euro bonds, it's now even shorter because of the worsening in the crisis,» a second EU official said.

"There needs to be a discussion on jobs and growth, but there also needs to be a discussion on specific steps that can be taken towards euro bonds.

Several proposals, aside from the Commission's, have already been circulated for well over a year. One, called a debt redemption fund, was proposed by a group of German 'wise men'.

That proposal would involve mutualizing the debts of euro zone countries over and above 60 percent of GDP - the debt limit set out in the EU's stability and growth pact.

Another idea put forward by the Bruegel think tank would involve mutualizing all debt up to 60 percent of GDP, with any debt over and above that limit having to be underwritten by the specific country alone.

Economists have argued that the best way of restoring confidence in bonds issued by euro zone sovereigns is for the debt to be collectively underwritten by all the countries. However, that would put a large burden on Germany, the EU's biggest economy, to finance the debts of other member states.

As well as resolving the region's debt problems, EU leaders are also expected to discuss how to tackle a deepening banking crisis, with the banking systems in both Greece and Spain under severe strain.

One idea is to allow the European Financial Stability Facility, the euro zone's 700 billion euro rescue fund, to help recapitalize banks directly, rather than lending to individual countries that then lend it on to the banks.

But Germany opposes direct lending by the EFSF to banks, saying it is up to individual member states to ensure the stability of their banking sectors. [Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Monday May 21, 2012 (12:52)  
Wage dispute hurts gov’t unity before troika return
Most Britons want to see Parthenon Marbles back in Athens, poll shows
Turkey tests Cyprus after research vessel encroaches on offshore gas area
Doctors’ disiplinary panel needs surgery
ANALYSIS
At loggerheads over role of the IMF
The Greek coalition government’s plan for a clean exit from the European Union / International Monetary Fund program was dealt a deadly blow by the markets last week on the back of rising po...
Hong Kong telecom group buys out Greek start-up
Hong Kong-based telecommunications multinational PCCW Global has announced it has bought out Greek start-up Crypteia Networks, aiming to incorporate its products into the group’s portfolio. ...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
PAOK fans stop coach Markopoulos´s move to Olympiakos
Olympiakos is once again in the lookout for a new coach after the refusal of PAOK to release Soulis Markopoulos, while Panathinaikos defeated Kolossos on Rhodes on Monday to become the only ...
BASKETBALL
Reds lose to Nea Kifissia, search for new coach
Nea Kifissia recorded the biggest win of its short history in the top flight defeating Olympiakos 68-67 on Sunday, in a Basket League weekend marred by the abandonment of the Thessaloniki de...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Stop moaning and get in the game
There are so many people who love spending their days talking about the crisis and proclaiming that they know exactly what needs to be done to solve the country’s problems. Some of them obvi...
EDITORIAL
Exorcising the ghosts
Developments last week held in store an uncomfortably realistic understanding of the risks engulfing the country. The massive sell-off in Greece’s stock and bond markets was a strong shock. ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. PAOK fans stop coach Markopoulos´s move to Olympiakos
2. At loggerheads over role of the IMF
3. Hong Kong telecom group buys out Greek start-up
4. Local tourism could see more arrivals, investments next year
5. Troika exerts pressure using return date
6. Wage dispute hurts gov’t unity before troika return
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
2. Bakers encircle Thessaloniki's White Tower with giant 'koulouri'
3. Turkish vessel enters Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone
4. European leaders pivot back to debt crisis after wake-up call
5. Hardouvelis does not see 'big surprises' in ECB stress tests
6. Stop moaning and get in the game
Today
This Week
1. Possible third figure in Amphipolis mosaic may be uncovered shortly
2. Greece to contribute 1 mln towards Gaza reconstruction
3. Greece nearing bailout exit, says gov't spokesperson after IMF talks
4. Istanbul skyscraper casts shadow over Greece's banking ambitions
5. Coalition shooting itself in the foot
6. GPO poll gives SYRIZA clear lead over New Democracy
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.