Germany Cries: “Europe Is Coming For Our Money”

“Greece is an exception in the Euro Zone” Angela Merkel, December 9, 2011

Exception from ESM Seniority only applies to Spanish aid” – Angela Merkel, June 29, 2012

It took about a year, but finally Germany, with a little assistance from Merkel on Friday morning, has figured it out. And is now blasting it on the front pages of its variousnewpapers:

Translated:

Europe is coming for our money!

What else does Die Welt say:

When economic historians in a few years determine the turning point at which the euro zone turned into a debt community, they may refer to the last Thursday night. In those dramatic hours when Angela Merkel after massive pressure from Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy buckled – and agreed to an agreement whose scope is now very difficult to estimate.

Specifically, what is now painfully clear to everyone in Germany is that if indeed Merkel’s declarations over the past few days are to be taken at face value, then Germay has just lost control over European supervision: a topic very near and dear to all Germans’ heart, as up until this point money would be handed out only in exchange for conditionality. A move whie Welt calls a paradigm shift: “To date the Germans insisted that the €-aids come equipped with shackles. Money was always associated with reform programs that were monitored by the Troika of the EU, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).” That is now no longer the case. At least according to conventional wisdom:

Precisely for this reason were countries like Portugal and Ireland long afraid to apply for assistance. Now dipping into the bailout pot will be far easier… The federal government has always stressed that any bailout will come with strict conditions. Now all has changed, partly because of pressure from the financial markets. Italy and Spain struggling with risk premiums at record levels. So far, however, they refused to implement emergency measures. That could now change. Monti has already cheered: “the Troika will never come to Rome.”

Die Welt may be on to something: while in the case of the Spanish bailout, the European action opened the door for proactive demands for future assistance, what happened last week has also activated the retroactive lever, and the cries for equitable EFSF/ESM treatment (where there is no seniority for bondholders despite Citi’s clear explanation the EFSF and ESM will always have implied seniority over other private sector bondholders no matter what promises politicians throw around) will now come from all the other countries bailed out by Europe. Because what kind of union is it if among the countries in distress some are more equal than others. After all, first it was only Greece who was an exception. Now it is Spain. Who will be the next exception?

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