Monday, 25 March 2013

Poor Cyprus

Cyprus, being unable to assert its claims to the gas fields around it, has been taken apart.  Any state wishing to exploit its natural resources had better have the defence resources to do so,  international law and treaties being always a cover story for powerful states, not a  guarantee for weak ones.  This is true as well for claims by EU bureaucrats that Cyprus is a template for dealing with  member states' sovereign debt  rule-breaking.  Small or weak states will be brought to euro-heel, the others will reshape the euro-structures.  Those determined that the euro should succeed  must hope for confidence in its flexibility to respond to political change within and between powerful member-states.

Even Spain is too poor, too under-resourced, too under-developed to exert Euro-reformatting.  The people there can riot in the streets for all the effect it will have on changing the euro structures or enabling the Spanish government  to alter their relationship with the eurozone.   In contrast, the United Kingdom, although formally equally bound by euro rules,  is big enough and rich enough to ignore them when it chooses.  And does. This independence of action is usually attributed to retaining a national currency -  undoubtedly a help - but the real source of capacity for self-assertion is the usual: too big and complex an economy and a state too powerful to push around.  No EU Projecteers are going to tell France and Germany what to do either.  The euro structures will certainly respond to their requirements.

Which leaves Italy.  The idea that the treatment of Cyprus could be used as a template for Italy is far-fetched, unless such a template is self-administered.  While there can be no Troikerenes flying into Rome to lay down the law, the pitched political battle here is precisely over whether Monti's imposition of the current shape of euro requirements continues, or euro-structures flex to  Italian politico-economic  pressures.   Monti is still prime minister; Napolitano is determined to push the constitution into any shape it takes to keep the current administration - under another name,  whatever name  -   to do from within what weaker states have had forced upon them from without.  There is, at the moment, a kind of shadow template that has been introduced by the Monti government.  We can all do as we please but every move we make will be reported by various bodies and institutions and subsequently attract investigation that amounts to little more than fiscal and financial harrassment.   The President of the Republic and the Prime Minster (who was so humiliatingly rejected at the general election last February) are still trying to leave the current euro-structures alone and warp Italy.

The electorate, disinclined to be impoverished at every level and their economy reduced to, at best, stasis have voted for the re-structuring of the euro and the Union.  What happens here should be of much greater interest to the citizens of large,  powerful European states than anywhere that has been in the sovereign-debt news so far.  


Weekend Yachtsman said...

Good analysis, HG, hard to disagree.

I particularly like "Troikerenes" - what a wonderful instrument the English language is.

Keep telling us how you see it in Italy, the legacy media here in the UK has lost interest completely.

dearieme said...

Even the Cypriots, downtrodden and few, managed to get the mad idea of confiscating part of guaranteed deposits withdrawn. So far.

I wonder how the Irish feel about it all? Even more browned off with their governments I presume. But then they don't matter. Small folk must accede to the juggernaut and may still be crushed under its wheels.

Anonymous said...

The colleagues have overstepped the mark, Banks in Cyprus will be closed a further two days, the run will come and there will also be some very nervous savers in Club Med. It does not take much to instill panic and all the necessary ingredients are there in Cyprus, how the rest of Club Med react will be watched. Apparently, the Russians have already withdrawn their dosh - so what's left?

Blue Eyes said...

"Small or weak states will be brought to euro-heel, the others will reshape the euro-structures. "

Yep. The French and Germans decided between themselves to ditch the deficit rules on Day One when the rules didn't suit them. If France was going bust the ECB would be flooding the continent with cheap Euros.

The Dutch chap let the cat out of the bag, maybe the Dutch and German banks need Europe's savings to prop them up?

Gexton said...

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Caronte said...

"Even the Cypriots, downtrodden and few, managed to get the mad idea of confiscating part of guaranteed deposits withdrawn". Mad, yes, Dearieme, but it had been a Cypriot initiative in the first place, Dearieme, though of course the Troika and the Eurogroup should not have agreed.

It is bad enoough having deposit insurance guaranteed by the NATIONAL Treasury (for the 2009 European harmonisation of a deposit guarantee was not covered by a EUROPEAN Agency).