“Incomprehensible” And “Meaningless”

Are the previous court decisions ruling that the European Court of Justice can have primacy over national law in Germany. It’s also “incomprehensible” that it took so long for everybody to figure this out. I sure hope that this latest ruling won’t be ruled out as “meaningless” later but I’ve had my hopes dashed before.

Judge

Germany’s constitutional court sent shockwaves through Europe last week by ruling that the German government and the EU’s top judges failed to properly scrutinise the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme.

The judgment threatens to turn the European Commission against Germany, the EU’s biggest member state. It raises doubts over the primacy of the European Court of Justice over national law. It also risks driving a wedge between the ECB and its biggest shareholder, the Bundesbank.

Germany’s highest court dismissed an earlier ECJ ruling in ECB’s favour as “incomprehensible” and “meaningless”. That bombshell decision opened the door to potential legal challenges against the EU from other countries, such as Poland and Hungary, whose authoritarian governments are already at odds with Brussels.

I Got Your Quantitative Easing For You Right Here, Pal

Imagine that. A nation state (member state) ought to have a say in how its money is spent. What a radical new concept.

Court

Germany’s top court has ruled that the European Central Bank’s mass bond-buying to stabilise the eurozone partly violates the German constitution.

The ruling relates to government debt worth €2.1 trillion (£2tn; $2.3tn) bought by the ECB since 2015, but not purchases in the coronavirus crisis.

The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe says there is not enough German political oversight in the purchases…

The plaintiffs are a group of German academics, including a former leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), Bernd Lucke. They argue that the purchases violate the EU ban on one eurozone member subsidising the debts of another.

It is now up to the ECB to explain how its mass bond-buying programme is “proportionate”. The Bundesbank could pull out if it is not satisfied, in three months’ time – which would be a big blow to the eurozone.

German Of The Day: Strafzins

That means “punitive interest rate” and refers to a rates below zero.

Strafzins

It’s an accurate word invention. The ECB has cut rates again and those who save are punished.

The German term “Strafzins”, or “punishment rate” is widely used in the country’s media to refer to interest rates below zero. And a day after the ECB cut rates for the first time since the spring of 2016, it is back in the news.

This is despite the fact there is an alternative German word for negative rates: negativzins (as Michael Steen, formerly of the FT and ECB global media chief, pointed out on Twitter).

Admittedly negativ also has . . . negative connotations. But the use of “straf”, or “punitive”, reflects a widespread perception across Germany that the ECB is penalising savers through its monetary policy.

“They want to pump us up with the credit drug.”

German Of The Day: Graf Draghila

That means Count Draghila.

Draghila

You know, as in Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank President?

Mass-selling German newspaper Bild on Friday accused European Central Bank President Mario Draghi of “sucking dry” the bank accounts of Germany’s savers, a day after the ECB cut interest rates deeper into negative territory.

Next to a photomontage of Draghi with fangs and dressed as a vampire, Bild’s headline read: “Count Draghila is sucking our accounts dry.”

Hoping to kick-start economic activity nearly a decade after the euro zone’s debt crisis, the ECB on Thursday cut interest rates deeper into negative territory and promised bond purchases with no end-date to push borrowing costs even lower.

“The horror for German savers goes on and on.”

An Inconvenient Truth

Germany hides the awkward truth about the euro.

Germany

Mr Kohl’s offence — the original sin, I would say, at the launch of the single currency — was to shy away from spelling out to German voters the inescapable meaning of the bargain. It still goes unsaid. In short, Germany is the biggest beneficiary of European integration. The EU supplies the democratic stability and economic certainty on which its prosperity has been built. No country has more to lose from a break-up.

These benefits, understandably, carry a price tag. As the EU’s most powerful economy, Germany bears a proportionate responsibility for the stability of the enterprise.

The mantra in Berlin continues to obfuscate. Germany, it says, will never accept a “transfer union”. In real life, of course, that horse has already bolted. The true choice is between the shadow transfer union represented by the mountain of national central bank liabilities that have built up at the ECB — so-called Target balances — and the creation of an economic union that admits the role of fiscal policy in managing economic demand.

The present catch-22 is that those with room to operate the fiscal levers — Germany and its northern neighbours — refuse to do so. Those pressing for a more expansionary stance — led by France — lack the budgetary headroom.

Save Money At Your Own Risk, Thrifty Germans

That virtue is going to cost you in today’s Europe.

Cash

Germany in Uproar as Negative Rates Threaten Saving Obsession – Germany’s overcrowded banking industry has long contended with sub-par profitability, but after five years of negative rates, lenders are running out of ways to offset the hit to earnings. With the country gearing up for regional elections next month, the ECB is an easy target for a country known for its risk-averse attitude to money and its habit of hording savings in checking accounts. At 2.35 trillion euros ($2.6 trillion), no other country in the euro area has a larger pile of retail deposits.

“These suggestions show how far the undesired side effects of the ECB’s negative rates stretch.”

What’s A Few 4500 Billion Euros These Days?

Give or take 1000 billion? Fur European taxpayers, I mean. When the financial system “Draghi crases” and burns after the interest rates start heading up again.

Drahgi

Bank expert Markus Krall shows in the book “The Draghi Crash” what drastic measures are needed to save Europe from the death of the financial system. Five measures are necessary – otherwise threatening costs up to 4500 billion euros.

The vast abuses in the banking sector hang like a sword of Damocles on Europe. “We are all trapped in the trap that the ECB has dug for itself and us with its Keynesian interest rate policy,” warns Markus Krall. The imbalances in the credit sector are so huge that even a small turnaround in interest rates could lead to a crash.

The problem: the Eurozone countries do not have the resources to deal with the consequences this time around. In Germany 3000 billion euros of national wealth are at stake. Krall estimates the total amount of defaulted loans in the European banking system to be at least 1000 billion euros. And when interest rates rose, an unprecedented wave of bankruptcies threatened Europe’s zombie companies. “That costs again up to 1500 billion euros,” said the consultant.

Staatsschulden, Lebensversicherungen, Bankbilanzen – Banken-Experte Markus Krall zeigt in dem Buch “Der Draghi-Crash”, welche drastischen Maßnahmen nötig sind, um Europa vor dem Exitus des Finanzsystems zu retten. Fünf Maßnahmen seien nötig – sonst drohen Kosten bis zu 4500 Milliarden Euro.

I Got Your Trading Partner For You Right Here, Pal

For the first time in 40 years US-Amerika has now surpassed France as Germany’s most important trading partner.

Trading Partner

Of course now everybody is trying to figure out who to blame for this and how to fix it.

One theory goes that the policy of low interest rates and the government bonds buyback program by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has devalued the euro and made selling in other parts of the world a whole lot easier. I’ll “buy” that. Hardy, har, har.

Erstmals seit vier Jahrzehnten haben die USA Frankreich als wichtigsten Handelspartner Deutschlands abgelöst. 2015 seien Waren im Wert von 173,2 Milliarden Euro zwischen Deutschland und den Vereinigten Staaten gehandelt worden.

Greeks Apologize And To Pay Back All Debts Tomorrow

The nation of Greece said sorry to the European Union with a present of an enormous wooden horse.

Horse

Left outside the European Central Bank in the dead of night, the horse has now been moved into the ECB’s central lobby where it is proudly on display.

A gift tag attached to the horse, which is surprisingly light for its size and has small holes along the length of its body, suggested that it should be placed in the bank’s vaults overnight to avoid it being targeted by thieves…

Oddly, Greek representatives in Brussels have hinted that they may soon be in a position to settle their debts and have puzzled the French and German banks that hold their loans by asking if there is any discount for cash.

PS: Thanks for the link, A.K.

She’s Not Even Showing Her Bazoobies

What’s the point of that?

Femen

Femen women these days. They used to take this kind of thing much more seriously. But now? Once sextivists start throwing confetti at adversaries without even bothering to take their tops off then I say this movement has jumped the shark.

“The confetti attack was not a #femen protest, I’m sorry ladies. I consider myself a freelance-activist. Free Riot!”