Monday, May 27, 2019

If I had been elected a first time EU parliamentarian

If I was a newly elected first time European Union parliamentarian, the following is what I would ask in order to leave a clean historical record of my presence there:

Fellow parliamentarians: I have heard rumors that even though all the Eurozone sovereigns take on debt denominated in a currency that de facto is not their own domestic printable one; their debts, for the purpose of the risk weighted bank capital requirements, have been assigned a 0% risk weight by European authorities. Is this true or not?

If true does that 0% risk weight, when compared to a 100% risk weight of us European citizens not translate into a subsidy of the Eurozone sovereigns’ bank borrowings or in fact of all Europe's sovereigns?

If so does that not distort the allocation of bank credit in the sense that the sovereigns might get too much credit and the citizens, like European entrepreneurs, get too little? And if so would that not signify some regulators, behind our backs, have imposed an unabridged statism on our European Union?

And if so, does that not mean that some Eurozone sovereign could run up so much debt they would be seriously tempted to abandon the euro and thereby perhaps endanger our European Union?

Finally, was Greece awarded such a 0% risk weight? If so was this monumental fault by EU authorities taken in consideration when restructuring its debts? And if not, does that not show a basic lack of solidarity with a EU member?

Who should answer these questions? The European Commission?
Oops... it seems that it was the European Parliament through a "Council on prudential requirements for credit institutions and investment firms" that concocted the  idea.

PS. In March 2015 the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) published a report on the regulatory treatment of sovereign exposures. In the foreword we read:

"The report argues that, from a macro-prudential point of view, the current regulatory framework may have led to excessive investment by financial institutions in government debt. 

The report recognises the difficulty in reforming the existing framework without generating potential instability in sovereign debt markets. 

I trust that the report will help to foster a discussion which, in my view, is long overdue. Mario Draghi, ESRB Chair"

So Mario Draghi, as president of the European Central Bank since 2011, what have you done about it, or is it your intention to leave that very hot potato to your successor?

PS. In that ESRB report there are references to "domestic" currency but not to the fact that the euro is not really a domestic currency of any of the eurozone sovereigns.