• Moscovici: pas d’amende pour l’Espagne, pour «éviter un sentiment d’humiliation»

    La Commission européenne a renoncé à infliger une amende pour déficit excessif à l’Espagne et au Portugal pour éviter « un sentiment d’humiliation », affirme dimanche dans le quotidien espagnol El Pais le commissaire aux Affaires économiques, Pierre Moscovici. « Imposer des amendes aurait généré un sentiment anti-européen et une perception d’humiliation dans un pays comme l’Espagne, qui a fait énormément de sacrifices ces derniers temps », affirme le Français Pierre Moscovici, après que la Commission a renoncé à sanctionner l’Espagne et le Portugal pour dérapage budgétaire.

    Did Germany Just Blink? | naked capitalism
    By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at Wolf Street. Originally published at Wolf Street

    Of Europe’s 27 commissioners, only four voted in favor of applying the fines; the other 23 voted against. According to El País, the deciding factor in the decision was an impromptu phone call from German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble to some of the more conservative commissioners, giving them the green light to forego the fine.


    For a taste of just how disastrous the political fallout would be for Italy’s embattled premier, Matteo Renzi, here’s an excerpt from a furious tirade given by Italian financial journalist Paolo Barnard on prime-time TV, addressing Renzi directly:

    You went to meet Mrs. Merkel to ask for a minor public funded bail-out of Italian banks and you got a sharp NO. But did anyone tell you that Germany from 2009 onwards bailed out its failing banks with public money?

    “Banks, that is, with holes in their balance sheets visible from the Moon. Germany bailed them out to the tune of 704 billion euros. It was all paid for by European taxpayers’ money, public funds that is.

    “It was done through the EU Commission of Mr Barroso and by Mr Mario Draghi at the ECB. Didn’t you know that Mr Renzi? Couldn’t you have barked this right into Ms Merkel’s face?”

    Barnard rounded off his rant with a rallying call for Italians to follow the UK’s example and demand an exit from the EU — a prospect that should be taken very seriously given that one of the manifesto pledges of Italy’s rising opposition party, the 5-Star Movement, is to call a referendum on Italy’s membership of the euro.

    Such a vote would be impossible since the Italian constitution expressly forbids referendums on international treaties such as those that hold the EU together. But as Reuters reports, 5 Star’s party leader Matteo Salvini and the party’s founder, Beppe Grillo, have vowed to pursue a legislative change to allow an ad-hoc exception to the Italian constitution.

    Whether or not a referendum on the euro takes place, one thing that’s clear is that a post-Renzi Italy will be a much more difficult, unpredictable force to deal with than the current Renzi-governed Italy. And if Italy ever did decide to leave the Union, whether in an orderly or disorderly fashion, it would be the end of the road for the European project.

    For that reason alone, the Commission and Germany will almost certainly end up granting further concessions to Italy and its Southern European neighbors, including a taxpayer-funded rescue of MPS. It may even include a bail-out top-up for Portugal’s crumbling financial system, which was left out of last week’s stress tests.

    The challenge for Merkel and other leaders of core euro zone nations will be trying to persuade their already disgruntled voters of the need for increased solidarity with their struggling neighbors to the South. That may well be a bridge too far. By Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit.