(Telegraph) Switzerland is threatening capital controls to repel bank flight from Euroland. The Swiss two-year note has fallen to -0.32pc, not that it seems to make any difference.
Denmark’s central bank said it was battening down the hatches for a "splintering" of EMU. It has cut interest rates twice in a matter or days and pledged to do whatever it takes to stop euros flooding into the country. Contingency plans are on the lips of officials in every capital in Europe, and beyond.
On a single day, the European Commission said monetary union was in danger of "disintegration" and the European Central Bank said it was "unsustainable" as constructed. Their plaintive cries may have fallen on deaf ears in Berlin, but they were heard all too clearly by investors across the world.
Joschka Fischer, Germany’s former vice-Chancellor, said EU leaders have two weeks left to save the project.
"Europe continues to try to quench the fire with gasoline – German-enforced austerity. In a mere three years, the eurozone’s financial crisis has become an existential crisis for Europe."
"Let’s not delude ourselves: If the euro falls apart, so will the European Union, triggering a global economic crisis on a scale that most people alive today have never experienced," he said.
Mr Fischer has the matter backwards. The euro itself is the chief cause of the existential crisis he discerns. Yet he is right that three precious year have been squandered, and that Europe‘s policy mix has been atrociously misguided. The pace of fiscal tightening has been too extreme, made much worse by the ECB’s monetary tightening last year. This inflicted a double-barrelled shock on Southern Europe. The whole region was forced back into slump before it had reached "escape velocity".
Sunday, June 3, 2012
The week that Europe stopped pretending