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Europe Is Failing At The #1 Thing It Needs To Do Right Now
If you haven’t read it yet, Simone Foxman has a very good roundup of the various sub-plots in the European drama that are causing investors to freak out again… just days after a EU Summit that was initially seen as having been breakthroughy.
There’s a common thread that runs through most of the subplots, and that’s the inability of Europe to show any momentum. The leaders meet in Brussels, set expectations low, have a long night, and then in the early hours of the morning, are able to write up some kind of announcement that sounds pretty good on paper. Europe is good at that. They even talk about future meetings, and hammering things out further, and things start to look brighter.
But then the trouble begins as soon as the leaders come back home and have to address their fellow politicians about what they just agreed to. Everything goes off the skids.
Finland and the Netherlands are getting annoying about wanting to place certain restrictions on the Spanish bailout. The German constitutional court wants to have its say. The notion that the bailout to Spain wouldn’t be senior to existing debt — one of the key agreements at the summit — is being contested.
Countries are countries and politicians are politicians, and it’s really hard for Europe to keep any unity going once the back-home reality hits
Everybody (including the Germans) knows that this will end with some kind of burden-sharing, and it’s also obvious that nothing of the sort can be agreed to in a short period of time. But that might be okay if Europe could at least provide a visible path towards that end.
Here’s what we wrote on July 1, right after the summit:
The next EU Summit is in October, and more concrete discussions about fiscal unions and so forth are expected to happen then. If the inermening time is seen as being positive towards that summit then good. If everyone goes back to fighting, then this “stepping stone” will be nothing.
This is what we were afraid of. Everyone’s gone back to fighting.