The Great Debate UK
from Bethany McLean:
By Bethany McLean
The opinions expressed are her own.
In the spring of 2010, European finance ministers announced the facility’s formation with great fanfare. In its inaugural report, Standard & Poor's described the EFSF as the “cornerstone of the EU’s strategy to restore financial stability to the euro zone sovereign debt market.” The facility itself said in an October 2011 date presentation that its mission is to “safeguard financial stability in Europe.”
That of course hasn’t happened. And the evidence suggests that the EFSF may have only exacerbated the problems.
In theory, the facility is supposed to provide a way for a country that the market perceives as weak to still borrow money on good terms. The initial idea was that instead of the financially troubled country itself trying to sell its debt to live another day, the EFSF would be the one to raise the money and lend it to the country in question. The logic was simple: country X might be shaky, but the EFSF deserved a triple-A rating.
By Laurence Copeland. The author is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School. The opinions expressed are his own.
Let me make a wild guess – just a hunch, a vague feeling, the kind you get when you hear a football club chairman say “the manager has my full support”. My forecast is that the IMF monitors currently poring over the Italian government’s books will uncover a black hole somewhere, probably one big enough to swallow the euro zone, and the discovery will leave them as shocked as Captain Renault when he found there was gambling going on at Rick’s Bar in Casablanca.