Why Mario Draghi scores AAA on PPP

By Hugo Dixon
December 17, 2012

Who is Europe’s most powerful man? If one phrased the question as who is Europe’s most powerful person, the answer might well be Angela Merkel. But the deliberate use of the masculine excludes Germany’s chancellor, leaving the field open to Mario Draghi.

Dos and Don’ts of EU banking union

By Hugo Dixon
December 10, 2012

Conventional wisdom has it that the euro zone needs a banking union to solve its crisis. This is wrong. Not only are there alternatives to an integrated regulatory structure for the zone’s 6,000 banks; centralisation will undermine national sovereignty.

Bersani may not be bad for Italy

By Hugo Dixon
December 3, 2012

The last Italian prime minister whose surname began with a “B” – Silvio Berlusconi – was a disaster. The country’s next leader’s name is also likely to start with a “B”.

Battle against Grexit far from won

By Hugo Dixon
November 26, 2012

The battle against Grexit – Greece’s exit from the euro – is far from won. Assume Athens is promised its next 44 billion euro tranche of bailout cash and some further debt relief when euro zone finance ministers reconvene on Nov. 26. Even then, the banks will still be hobbled, while another round of austerity is in the works and vested interests are rife.

Is Hollande more like Rajoy or Monti?

By Hugo Dixon
November 19, 2012

Is Francois Hollande more like Mariano Rajoy or Mario Monti? In other words, is the French socialist president condemned to be always behind the curve with reform like Spain’s conservative prime minister? Or can he get ahead of it like Italy’s technocratic premier?

Brexit could come before Grexit

By Hugo Dixon
November 12, 2012

Investors have been obsessed with the notion of “Grexit” – Greece’s exit from the euro. But “Brexit” – Britain’s exit from the European Union – is as likely if not more so. The country has never been at ease with its EU membership. It refused to join its predecessor, the European Economic Community, in 1957; it was then blocked twice from becoming a member by France’s Charles De Gaulle in 1960s; and shortly after it finally entered in 1973, it had a referendum on whether to stay.

UBS exposes myth of full-service bank

By Hugo Dixon
November 5, 2012

During the long upswing, second-tier and even third-tier banks felt they needed to offer every product in every part of the world. That led to inflated costs, unethical practices and now terrible returns. Last week’s bold move by UBS to hack back its fixed income division, with the loss of 10,000 jobs, exposes the myth of the so-called “full-service” firm.

World needs healthy capitalism

By Hugo Dixon
October 29, 2012

Last week I gave a speech on “healthy capitalism” at Oxford University. Before doing so, I tried the idea out on an academic friend of mine. He scoffed at it. For him, “healthy capitalism” was an oxymoron. Five years after the start of the world’s worst financial crisis in decades, it is easy to mock capitalism. The system ran amok – leading to debt, unemployment and shrinking economies.

Euro zone doesn’t need Disziplin union

By Hugo Dixon
October 22, 2012

European leaders nudged forward plans for a fiscal union with discipline as its leitmotif at last week’s summit. But such a “Disziplin union” is neither desirable nor necessary. It may not even be politically feasible.

Spanish circle getting hard to square

By Hugo Dixon
October 15, 2012

The art of politics is about squaring circles. In the euro crisis, this means pushing ahead with painful but necessary reforms while hanging onto power.