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Brussels, 18 December 2013

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEA UNION

The Council today set out its position on the establishment of a single resolution board and a single fund for the resolution of banks.

It called on the presidency to start negotiations with the European Parliament with the aim of agreeing the regulation on the single resolution mechanism (SRM) at first reading before the end of the Parliament’s current legislature (May 2014).

The compromise reached within the Council consists of a draft regulation on the single resolution mechanism, and a decision by euro area member states committing them to negotiate, by 1 March 2014, an intergovernmental agreement on the functioning of the single resolution fund. This agreement, in line with terms of reference also approved today, would include arrangements for the transfer of national contributions to the fund and their progressive mutualisation over a ten-year transitional phase. It would endorse the bail-in rules established in the bank recovery and resolution directive as applicable to the use of the single fund.

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In the early days of the crisis, it was thought that these national legacy problems were largely economic: over-levered sovereigns, banks and households, internal real exchange rate misalignments, and structural rigidities. But, over time it has become clear that there are also national legacy problems of a political nature. The constitutions and political settlements in the southern periphery, put in place in the aftermath of the fall of fascism, have a number of features which appear to be unsuited to further integration in the region. When German politicians and policymakers talk of a decade-long process of adjustment, they likely have in mind the need for both economic and political reform. The nature of crisis management has had a huge impact on the macro landscape. A greater bearing of the burden at the national level has weighed on regional growth and has generated a significant degree of intra-regional dispersion. It has also increased political tensions in the region. A critical question is whether the macro economy can improve even if the narrative of crisis management remains unchanged. We think that it can, but only to a limited extent.

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At the start of the crisis, it was generally assumed that the national legacy problems were economic in nature. But, as the crisis has evolved, it has become apparent that there are deep seated political problems in the periphery, which, in our view, need to change if EMU is going to function properly in the long run. The political systems in the periphery were established in the aftermath of dictatorship, and were defined by that experience. Constitutions tend to show a strong socialist influence, reflecting the political strength that left wing parties gained after the defeat of fascism. Political systems around the periphery typically display several of the following features: weak executives; weak central states relative to regions; constitutional protection of labor rights; consensus building systems which foster political clientelism; and the right to protest if unwelcome changes are made to the political status quo. The shortcomings of this political legacy have been revealed by the crisis. Countries around the periphery have only been partially successful in producing fiscal and economic reform agendas, with governments constrained by constitutions (Portugal), powerful regions (Spain), and the rise of populist parties (Italy and Greece). There is a growing recognition of the extent of this problem, both in the core and in the periphery. Change is beginning to take place. Spain took steps to address some of the contradictions of the post-Franco settlement with last year’s legislation enabling closer fiscal oversight of the regions. But, outside Spain little has happened thus far. The key test in the coming year will be in Italy, where the new government clearly has an opportunity to engage in meaningful political reform. But, in terms of the idea of a journey, the process of political reform has barely begun.

source: jpm

Statement by the President of the Republic Mr Nicos Anastasiades
16/03/2013

It is well known that the deep economic crisis and the state of emergency in which the country has found itself did not come about in the last fortnight since we have undertaken the administration of the country.

The state of emergency and critical nature of the times do not allow me, as they do not allow anyone, to embark on a blame game.

In the extraordinary meeting of the Eurogroup, we faced decisions that had already been taken and came across faits accomplis through which we were faced with the following dilemmas:

On Tuesday, March 19 we would either choose the catastrophic scenario of disorderly bankruptcy or the scenario of a painful but controlled management of the crisis, which would put a definitive end to the uncertainty and restart our economy.

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