In the 2015 debt crisis, the then Greek Finance Minister Y. Varoufakis made many proposals that were considered absurd in Germany. But now, in the Corona crisis, some of his demands may be fulfilled.
Rome now wants €bonds. Madrid perpetual bonds. The ECB a Bad Bank. When I was proposing all 3 in ’15, Frankfurt, Rome & Madrid (following the troika line) were ridiculing me. Is this progress? Not really. Berlin will say NEIN again. Unless we VETO Berlin’s veto, there is no hope— Yanis Varoufakis (@yanisvaroufakis) April 20, 2020
Eurobonds, “perpetual bonds”, a bad bank for the European Central Bank: Varoufakis brought all this into play at the height of the euro crisis in 2015. Aloof, unthinkable, impossible, was the motto in Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich at the time.
Five years later, things look completely different:
- Eurobonds are being discussed again – even if this time they are called coronabonds, recovery bonds or EU bonds. Even the German Commission President von der Leyen (CDU) is suddenly taking on debt.
- Perpetual bonds are also under discussion – Spain wants to use them to finance a “reconstruction fund”. And even the FAZ suddenly has articles explaining that non-repayable bonds are nothing unusual!
- A “bad bank” for the ECB now even demands the banking supervision of the ECB! In view of the biggest depression in 100 years, the experts say that the “bad loans” must be disposed of there. This can also be read in the “FAZ”.
Of course, this does not mean that the Federal Government or the Bundesbank would now suddenly agree. However, it does show that Voraufakis’ ideas were by no means as absurd as they were presented in Berlin and Frankfurt in 2015.
Today these ideas belong to the mainstream – at least in Italy, Spain, France, and in enlightened EU circles. Some experts even say that all three instruments will be needed to get through this crisis.
Varoufaki’s late satisfaction is also expressed on another point: the question of whether Greece was “tortured” by Germany in the euro crisis. Now even Foreign Minister H. Maas – without naming any names – admits this.
“It is important to find solutions quickly now, also in terms of financial policy,” the SPD politician said in the “ntv Frühstart”. The Euro rescue parachute ESM should help quickly – “without all the instruments of torture known to man”.
Recently, the federal government even wants to do without troikas and strict savings requirements. Why wasn’t this actually possible in Greece in 2015?
Translated with DeepL, the original post (in German) is here