Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.What Happened to the Stock Market Crash Experts Were Predicting - Sol_Palha
2.London Housing Market Property Bubble Vulnerable To Crash - GoldCore
3.The Plan to Control ALL Your Money is Now at Advanced Stage
4.Why Gold Is Set For An Epic Rally This Spring - James Burgess
5.MR ROBOT NHS Cyber Attack Hack - Why Israel, NSA, CIA and GCHQ are Culpable - Nadeem_Walayat
6.Emmanuel Macron and Banking Elite Win French Presidential Election 2017 - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Trend Lines Met, Technical's are Set - US Dollar is Ready to Rally (Elliott Wave Analysis) - Enda_Glynn
8.The Student Debt Servitude Sham - Gordon_T_Long
9.Czar Trump Fires Comey, Terminates Deep State FBI, CIA Director Next? - Nadeem_Walayat
10.UK Local Elections 2017 - Labour Blood Bath, UKIP Death, Tory June 8th Landslide - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team - 25th May 17
Stock Market Top - Are We There Yet? - 25th May 17
Should I Invest My Fortune in Gold? Inaugural Lecture by Dr Brian Lucey - 25th May 17
USD/CAD Continues Decline - 25th May 17
Bitcoin Price Goes Loco! Surges through $2,500 Despite Unclear Fork Issues - 25th May 17
The US-Saudi Arms Deal - Sordid Saudi Signals - 25th May 17
The No.1 Commodity Play In The World Today - 24th May 17
Marks and Spencer Profits Collapse, Latest Retailer Hit by Brexit Inflation Tsunami 2017 - 24th May 17
Why Online Trading Platforms Are Useful for Everyone - 24th May 17
The Stock Market Will Tank Hard - 24th May 17
It’s Better to Buy Gold & Silver When It DOESN’T Feel Good - 24th May 17
Global Warming - Saving Us From Us - 24th May 17
Stock Market Forecast for Next 3 Months - Video - 23rd May 17
Shale Oil & Gas Production Costs Spiral Higher As Monstrous Decline Rates Eat Into Cash Flows - 23rd May 17
The Only Metal Trump Wants More Than Gold - 23rd May 17
America's Southern Heritage is a Threat to the Deep State - 23rd May 17
Manchester Bombing - ISIS Islamic Terrorist Attack Attempt to Influence BrExit Election - 23rd May 17
What an America First Trade Policy Could Mean for the US Dollar - 22nd May 17
Gold and Sillver Markets - Silver Price Sharp Selloff - 22nd May - 22nd May 17
Stock Market Volatile C-Wave - 22nd May 17
Stock Market Trend Forecast and Fear Trading - 22nd May 17
US Dollar Cycle : Deep Dive - 21st May 17
Bitcoin Breaks the $2,000 Mark as Cryptocurrencies Continue to Explode Higher - 21st May 17
Stocks, Commodities and Gold Multi-Market Status - 21st May 17
Stock Market Day Trading Strategies and Brief 20th May 2017 - 21st May 17
DOW Needs to Rally Big or Correction is Next - 20th May 17
EURUSD reaches DO or DIE moment! - 20th May 17
How to Get FREE Walkers Crisps Multi-packs! £5 to £28k Pay Packet Promo - 20th May 17
UK BrExit General Election 2017 - Will Opinion Pollsters Finally Get it Right? - 19th May 17
Gold Mining Junior Stocks GDXJ 2017 Fundamentals - 19th May 17
If China Can Fund Infrastructure With Its Own Credit, So Can We - 19th May 17
Evidence That Stocks are More Overvalued than Ever - 19th May 17
Obamacare May Become Zombiecare In 2018 - 19th May 17
The End of Reflation? Implications for Gold - 19th May 17
Gold and Silver Trading Alert: New Important Technical Development - 19th May 17
Subversion And Constructive Synthesis Of Capitalism And Socialism - 18th May 17
Silver: Train Leaving Station Soon! - 18th May 17
Credit and Volatility Signal That Financial Conditions Are Very Overheated - 18th May 17
Another Stock Market "Minsky Moment" or Will the Markets Calm Down? - 18th May 17
WannaCry Ransomware Virus Is a Globalist False Flag Attack On Bitcoin - 18th May 17
Euro, Stocks, Gold Momentum Extremes All Round! - 18th May 17
US Stock Market Slumps on Establishment / CIA Trump Impeachment Coup Plan - 18th May 17
Tory Landslide, Labour Bloodbath - Will Opinion Pollsters Finally Get a UK Election Right? - 17th May 17
The stock market sectors which are breaking out in 2017 - 17th May 17
A ‘Must-See’ Chart for Gold and Silver Aficionados  - 17th May 17
Will the SPX Stock Market Final Surge Fail to Appear? - 16th May 17
Claim your FREE copy of Jim Rickards’ explosive book - 16th May 17
GOP Establishment Elite Plots Trump Removal - 16th May 17
Walkers Crisps Pay Packet Cheats, Shoplifters and Staff Conning Customers - 16th May 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Why 95% of Traders Fail

Tension between Italy, Germany, and the EU Is Growing

Politics / European Union Feb 10, 2017 - 02:09 PM GMT

By: John_Mauldin

Politics

BY ANTONIA COLIBASANU : As mentioned in our 2017 forecast, Geopolitical Futures said that the evolution of the Italian banking crisis will force a confrontation between Italy, Germany, and the European Union. The groundwork for this confrontation was laid last year, and the face-off has further evolved already this year.

In December 2016, two Italian members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the populist Europe of Nations and Freedom groups asked the European Central Bank (ECB) in a letter to explain the “widening balance divergences between individual countries [in the eurozone] since the 2008 crisis.”


They also asked the ECB “how the balances would, technically, be settled, especially those in net debtor countries, should a Member State participating in the system decide to quit the single currency.”

This is the first time MEPs have asked about what leaving the eurozone would look like. ECB President Mario Draghi replied in a letter to the two politicians on January 19. He said in part, “if a country were to leave the Eurosystem, its national central bank’s claims on or liabilities to the ECB would need to be settled in full.”

For the Italians, this issue has more to do with national politics than the EU. Italy will hold general elections in 2017 or 2018. Its internal debate regarding EU membership will be central to its dialogue with the EU. The power dynamics between the two entities will continue to unfold throughout the year.

Renegotiating Deals

Power is a key concept in geopolitics. The extent to which a country has—or lacks—power dictates which deals (including treaties) can be made, broken, or left in place. To reverse a deal, power is needed. Understanding how you gain power is key to assessing if change is possible.

Deals, in the form of treaties, are often signed after wars are fought. These deals are difficult, if not impossible, to reverse because the road to reaching such a deal entails high costs—including loss of life and a country’s physical destruction. Other deals seem easier to undo as they appear to be mostly political.

The EU is essentially a deal between nation-states to form a union with the hope that peace and prosperity would result. Political cooperation, first inspired by fear of renewed war and later by hope for growth, led to the bloc’s formation. The fear of renewed war led to the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community through the Paris Treaty in 1951. Hope for growth led to the Maastricht Treaty, signed in 1992. This treaty led to the EU’s founding and the creation of the eurozone.

Both treaties aimed to create a level of peace and prosperity that member states did not have the power to produce on their own. They feared renewed conflict, as they remembered World War II’s impact on the Continent. They also understood they could not afford massive destruction and rebuilding efforts for a third time.

The Promise of Peace and Prosperity Wanes

Today, neither prosperity nor peace is guaranteed through EU membership. The days of European politicians promising prosperity through integration ended with the 2008 financial crisis. The refugee crisis and terrorist attacks in Europe have threatened to disrupt peace. The EU couldn’t effectively address either crisis and citizens started questioning whether membership was worth the cost.

With public discontent growing, populism and nationalism are on the rise. Anti-establishment, populist parties have won seats not only in national parliaments, but also in the European Parliament. A number of the politicians from these parties represent countries that have experienced severe effects from the economic crisis—such as Italy, Greece, and Spain—or countries that have seen a dramatic rise in Euroskepticism in the last few years—such as the United Kingdom.

Draghi’s response to the Italian MEPs’ question marked one of the first instances in which a European authority acknowledged parameters for leaving the bloc. In fact, the European treaty does not have a provision detailing how a member would exit the eurozone, and this is not a mere oversight.

The monetary union was considered irrevocable and irreversible. When the Maastricht Treaty was signed, member states thought it was inconceivable that any country would want to withdraw from the eurozone.

Including such a clause in the treaty would have meant acknowledging that membership may have negative effects on states in the future. This would have implied that prosperity was not a given and undermined the promise and purpose of the treaty. Countries would have been forced to question their transfer of powers to the bloc.

But at the same time, member states didn’t want to give up their authority over fiscal policy—and thus only gave the ECB control over monetary policy. That was their deal: They wanted to hold full political power at home and transfer power over one area, which they thought would limit the costs of financial transactions between member states.

They dismissed the fact that these transactions were unbalanced, as the level of trade between countries was unequal and members’ socio-economic environments were very different. But while members maintained hope that the EU would bring growth and prosperity, their deal worked out well.

A New Norm

This is no longer the case, which is glaringly apparent in the letters exchanged between the Italian MEPs and Draghi. Problems appeared as the 2008 crisis hit, and economic differences became visible. While Draghi has rarely mentioned the possibility of a country leaving the eurozone, it was discussed in official spheres during the summer of 2015, when Greece faced its own financial crisis.

Italy is far from being in a similar position at the moment. But Europe has grown accustomed to nationalism and populism since the Greek crisis, and radical positions by politicians are no longer the exception but the norm.

The European Union’s economic crisis is political. The deal that was signed in the early 1990s in Maastricht—and updated in Amsterdam, Nice, and Lisbon—seems to be no longer relevant. There are no ideas on how to improve or reverse it. But political deals can be changed, and the will to make this happen is growing as countries see that it may be in their national interests to reclaim their monetary power… for better or worse.

Grab This Free Report to See What Lies Ahead in 2017

Now, for a limited time, you can download this free report from Mauldin Economics detailing the rocky roads that lie ahead for three globally important countries in 2017—and how the economic fallout from their coming crises could affect you. Top 3 Economic Surprises for 2017 is required reading for investors and concerned citizens alike. Get your free copy now.

John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife