Ministers of Economy and Finance of the European Union reached an agreement early Thursday on the legal framework that will allow Europe to create a single banking supervisor. The pact is the first step towards joining the euro zone bank and comes hours before the EU summit on Thursday, which will ratify the commitment. It is expected that the bank becomes operational in March 2014.
During the hours leading up to the agreement, the main hurdle was the distribution of power and scope of the supervising entity, which as explained in previous reports published during 2012, will become the economic and financial beast the bankers have always dreamed about. Germany wanted to exempt regional banks and savings banks from the control of the supervisor, while France, like Spain, defended the institution to supervise all institutions without exception.
The bank union is full of technicalities, but in reality it comes down to one detail: who has the power. Germany has convinced others that the ECB will only oversee the nationalized banks and the largest institutions; those with assets in excess of 30,000 million or 20% of GDP, about 100 entities, to leave others in the hands of national supervisors.
Although initially it was thought that the supervisor could only have the power to control, at any given time, any entity in difficulty, Germany blocked that option, leaving out of the ECB’s orbit Länder banks, which are supposedly loaded up with toxic assets. These banks will remain under the supervision of the German Bundesbank.
Germany also imposes a watered down solution for the common guarantee fund (consisting simply of standardized national funds) and a considerable delay to the bank resolution fund (a mechanism to close banks if necessary), which at some point could be a form of mutualisation of euro problems to be done through back door deals. And almost everything else gets delayed from the original schedule, against the advice of Italy, France and especially Spain, the country most affected by the financial cliff.
The bankers are already salivating due to the agreement. “Historic agreement on the supervisor!” said the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Financial Services, Michel Barnier, after 14 hours of meetings. In his Twitter account, Barnier judged that the creation of this entity is “a big step for a coherent supervision of all banks in the euro area.”
The objective is that the complete control of the European Central Bank (ECB) over all entities will serve to recapitalize troubled banks and break the vicious circle between the financial crisis and debt, but that kind of power will also undermine the sovereignty of the each of the member nations to a considerable degree in regards to their economic and financial policies. Everyone has seen in the last two years what happens when a complete continent is managed by a group of technocrats whose only goal is to consolidate power.
The supervising entity will be open not only to the euro zone, but all European countries that seek to yield their independence to a centralized, unaccountable banking system. So far only three countries have indicated that they are not interested in joining the single banking supervisor: the UK, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
The Cypriot Minister of Finance, Vassos Shiarly, announced at a press conference that the agreement will allow the Council to start negotiations with the European Parliament, which will begin early next week.
According Shiarly, the Twenty member states have reached an agreement on cooperation between the European Central Bank (ECB) and national regulators, the voting systems in the supervisory board of the entity and the European Banking Authority (EBA), the degree of enforceability of decisions made for countries outside the euro which are participating and the different phases of direct supervision.
Of course, it is clear that an entity that holds as much power as the supervisor will not share any kind of power to regulate how member nations direct their policies. Centralization of power and control is the reason why the bankers created this monster in the first place. From now on, it will be take it or leave it.
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Contributed by Luis Miranda of The Real Agenda.
Luis R. Miranda is the Founder and Editor of The Real Agenda. His 16 years of experience in Journalism include television, radio, print and Internet news. Luis obtained his Journalism degree from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, where he graduated in Mass Media Communication in 1998. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Among his most distinguished interviews are: Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres and James Hansen from NASA Space Goddard Institute.