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Fitch Affirms European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF)’s Debt Issues at ‘AAA’

Paris 05 December 2012

Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Long-Term rating of guaranteed medium and long-term debt issued by the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) at ‘AAA’, and the Short-Term rating of the short-term (less than 12 months contractual maturity) guaranteed debt instruments issued by the EFSF at ‘F1+’.

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Frankfurt am Main, November 30, 2012

Moody’s Investors Service has today downgraded the long-term issuer rating of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to Aa1 from Aaa, and is maintaining a negative outlook on the rating. At the same time, Moody’s has also downgraded the provisional long-term rating for the Issuer Rating and debt issuance programme of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to (P)Aa1 from P(Aaa), and is also maintaining a negative outlook. The short-term issuer rating of the ESM remains unchanged at Prime-1, while the provisional short-term rating of the EFSF remains at (P)Prime-1.

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27 November 2012

Eurogroup statement on Greece

The Eurogroup recalls that a full staff-level agreement has been reached between Greece and the Troika on updated programme conditionality and that, according to the Troika, Greece has implemented all agreed prior actions.

The Eurogroup in particular welcomes the updated assessment of the Troika that Greece has implemented in a satisfactory manner a wide ranging set of reforms, as well as the budget for 2013 and an ambitious medium term fiscal strategy 2013-16. The Eurogroup noted with satisfaction that the updated programme conditionality includes the adoption by Greece of new instruments to enhance the implementation of the programme, notably by means of correction mechanisms to safeguard the achievement of both fiscal and privatisation targets, and by stronger budgeting and monitoring rules. Greece has also significantly strengthened the segregated account for debt servicing.

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The circular nature of the scheme is surreal. Highly leveraged vehicles, in part backed by weakened nations like Spain and Italy, are to undertake the “rescue” of the same countries and their banks. Levering the EFSF merely highlights circularity in the entire European strategy of bailouts, drawing attention to the correlated default risks between the guarantor pool and the asset portfolio of the bailout fund. This is akin to an entity selling insurance against its own default. This only works if all commitments are fully backed by real cash and savings, which of course nobody actually has, requiring resort to familiar “confidence tricks”.

Satyajit Das, author of Extreme Money: The Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk