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Euro area Member States. Non-euro area Member States. Member States with an opt-out. European Economic Integration – 110451-0992 – 2014. VIII European Monetary Union(EMU). Prof . Dr. Günter S. Heiduk. Debating Europe. Some thoughts on the EURO.

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Euro area Member States

Non-euro area Member States

Member States with an opt-out

European Economic Integration – 110451-0992 – 2014

VIII European Monetary Union(EMU)

Prof. Dr. Günter S. Heiduk

Some thoughts on the EURO

“EMU will have a very pervasive impact on the working of the economy. Many different mechnisms will come into play and interact .“ One Market, One Money (1990)

“I believe the Euroland is going to run into big difficulties. That's because the different countries have different languages, limited mobility among them, and they're affected differently by external events.“

Milton Friedman (2003)

“Policy-makers rushed to negotiate a detailed agreement, having no time for detailed economic analysis.“Charles Wyplosz (2006)

Today‘s Anti-Euro and Pro-Euro Debate

“The euro area will hang together, in other words, because the decision to enter is

essentially irreversible. Getting out is impossible without precipitating the most serious

imaginable financial crisis – something that no government is prepared to risk.”

Barry Eichengreen, 2007,

IFO Policy Issue: Euro Crisis

“The euro rescue plan suspended fundamental principles of the Maastricht Treaty,

especially the no-bail-out clause – a ban on mutual credit assistance. These changes

had serious economic consequences. The interest rates on government bonds of the

various countries that were drifting apart as a result of the new risk assessments were

to be artificially kept together. This led to a weakening of the control function of the

capital market, which induces cautious behaviour on the part of borrowers and creditors.

For Germany the package bears considerable budgetary risks. Moreover, it retards

economic growth since the guarantees for the euro partners divert additional capital to

the indebted countries which is thus no longer available for investments in Germany.

As a result of the crisis the question of structural reform for the currency union has

come to the forefront.”


  • “Although the European Monetary Union has survived for 11 years, the current strains

  • within the euro zone show why it may not last for another decade without at least

  • some of its members leaving.” Martin Feldstein, 2012,

  • “I believe that there is still a fighting chance that the monetary union will emerge

  • strengthened, not weakened. But policymakers will have to radically raise their game.”

  • Charles Wyplosz, 2012,

  • Who is the Patient: Euro versus US$

    Appreciationofthe EURO

    Depreciationofthe US$

    Source: Pacific Exchange Service

    Who are the Patients: PIGS versus G+F

    Quarterly GDP, Change over Previous Quarter, in %, Selected Countries, Q3-2007 – Q2-2012


    Source: Own calculations on OECD National Accounts Statistics.

    What is wrong in the Eurozone?




    Mundell‘s Optimum

    Currency Approach

    Pareto‘s Policy

    Priority Approach


    Credibility Approach

    Countries/regions that are highly integrated by cross-border flows of production factors can fix the

    exchange rate or introduce a common currency

    Political integration paves the way toward economic integration,

    means: common fiscal policy first, monetary union second

    Money is what‘s being generally accepted

    “Geld ist, was gilt“





    Maastricht Treaty:

    Convergence Criteria


    Control + sanctions

    mechanisms didn‘t function after countries joined the Eurozone


    EU budget has no fiscal impact

    National competence in all policies which are relevant for budget imbalances between Member States


    Hidden scepticism,

    but globally still high acceptance of the Euro

    Increasing function as currency reserve

    The European way to solve the impossible “trinity“

    Source: Mongelli, F P (2008). European Economic and Monetray Integration and the Optimum Currency Area Theory. Economic

    Papers 302. European Commission.

    Europe: Home of a Complex, Partly Overlapping System of Institutions

    Eurozone: Part of a complex

    system of institutional


    How Institutions the Eurozone emerged

    Monetary System in the European Union Institutions

    • The European System of Central Banks (ESCB)

      • the European Central Bank (ECB) and

      • the national central banks (NCBs) of all 27 EU Member States.

    • The Eurosystem = The central banking system of the euro

    • the ECB and

    • the national central banks (NCBs) of the 17 EU Member States

    • whose common currency is the euro.

    • The Eurosystem is thus a sub-set of the ESCB. Since the ECB's

    • policy decisions, such as on monetary policy, naturally apply only to

    • the euro area countries, it is in reality the Eurosystem, which, as a team, carries out the central bank functions for the euro area. In doing so, the ECB and the NCBs jointly contribute to attaining the common goals of the Eurosystem.

    • ECB.Eurosystem

    Basic Tasks of the Eurosystem Institutions

    “Monetary policy

    The Eurosystem is responsible for defining and implementing the monetary policy of the euro area. This is a public policy function that is implemented mainly by financial market operations. Important for this task is the full control of the Eurosystem over the monetary base. As part of that, the ECB and the national central banks (NCBs) are the only institutions that are entitled to actually issue legal tender banknotes in the euro area. Given the dependence of the banking system on base money, the Eurosystem is thus in a position to exert a dominant influence on money market conditions and money market interest rates.

    Foreign exchange operations

    Foreign exchange operations influence exchange rates and domestic liquidity conditions; both are important variables for monetary policy. Assigning this task to the Eurosystem is therefore logical, also because central banks have the necessary operational facilities. Secondly, if the central bank carries out this task, it ensures that the foreign exchange operations remain consistent with the aims of the central bank's monetary policy.

    Promote smooth operation of payment systems

    Payment systems are a means to transfer money between credit and other monetary institutions. This function places them at the heart of an economy's financial infrastructure. Assigning the task of promoting their smooth operation to the Eurosystem acknowledges the importance of having sound and efficient payment systems - not only for the conduct of monetary policy but also for the stability of the financial system and as such for the economy as a whole.

    Hold and manage foreign reserves

    One of the most important reasons for managing the foreign reserves portfolio is to ensure that the ECB has sufficient liquidity to conduct its foreign exchange operations. The ECB's foreign reserves are currently managed in a decentralised manner by the NCBs that opt to take part in operational ECB foreign reserve management activities. These NCBs act on behalf of the ECB in accordance with instructions received from the ECB. Although the NCBs manage their own foreign reserves independently, their operations on the foreign exchange market are, above a certain limit, subject to the approval of the ECB, in order to ensure consistency with the exchange rate andmonetary policy of the Eurosystem.” ECB. Eurosystem

    Decision-Making Bodies of the European Central Bank Institutions

    “The ECB’s mission is to keep inflation low and stable. To achieve this goal, it closely

    follows economic developments in the euro area and seeks to influence the state of

    the economy through its decision-making.

    The ECB is the centre of decision-making in the Eurosystem. Thus, the Governing

    Council, the Executive Board and the General Council of the ECB each take all the

    decisions necessary to enable the Eurosystem and the ESCB to carry out their

    respective tasks. This includes the formulation of policies, such as the monetary

    policy for the euro area, but also how they should be implemented.”


    Decision-Making Bodies of the European Central Bank Institutions

    • “Main decision-making body of the Eurosystem. It comprises

      • all the members of the Executive Board of the ECB, and 

      • the governors/presidents of all the national central banks (NCBs) of the

      • euro area, i.e., those EU Member States that have adopted the euro.

    • Main responsibility

      • formulating the monetary policy of the euro area by taking the necessary

      • decisions and adopting the Guidelines needed for its implementation.”

      • ECB.Eurosystem

    Decision-Making Bodies of the European Central Bank Institutions

    • “The Executive Board of the ECB is the operational decision-making body of the

    • ECB and of the Eurosystem. It assumes the responsibility for all the decisions which

    • need to be taken on a day-to-day basis. The ECB must be able to react and adapt

    • to quickly changing conditions in the money and capital markets, to address specific

    • cases and to deal with matters of urgency. This function can only be performed by a

    • body whose members are permanently and exclusively involved in the implementation

    • of the ECB's policies. The Executive Board usually meets once a week.

    • Members

      • the President of the ECB, 

      • the Vice-President of the ECB, and 

      • four other members.” ECB. Eurosystem

    Division of Labor in the Eurosystem Institutions

    “Except for the statutory tasks that have been exclusively assigned to the ECB,

    the ESCB Statute does not indicate to what extent ECB policies are to be

    implemented through activities of the ECB or the NCBs. For the bulk of the

    Eurosystem's activities, the actual intra-System division of labour has been

    guided by the principle of decentralisation, with the ECB having recourse to the

    NCBs, to the extent deemed possible and appropriate, to carry out operations

    which form part of the tasks of the Eurosystem (cf. Article 12.1 of the ESCB


    Thus, the ECB and the NCBs jointly contribute to attaining the Eurosystem's

    common goals. However, according to Article 9.2 of the Statute, the ECB has

    to ensure that all tasks are carried out properly and consistently. To ensure

    this across the euro area, the ECB has the power to issue guidelines and

    instructions to the NCBs.”


    History of European Institutions Monetary Integration

    The 1970s:From Barre Plan to Werner Report

    In 1969, the European Commission submitted a plan (the "Barre Plan") to follow up on the idea of a single currency

    because the Bretton-Woods-System was showing signs of increasing strain.

    Werner Report: published in 1970, proposing to create EMU (European Monetary Union) in several stages by 1980.

    However, this process lost momentum in a context of considerable international currency unrest after the collapse of the

    Bretton-Woods- System in the early 1970s and under the pressure of divergent policy responses to the economic shocks

    of that period, in particular the first oil crisis.

    To counter this instability and the resulting exchange rate volatility among the currencies, the nine members of the then

    EEC relaunched the process of monetary cooperation in March 1979 with the creation of the European Monetary System (EMS). Its main feature was the exchange rate mechanism (ERM), which introduced fixed but adjustable exchange rates among the currencies of the EEC countries. Thus it required adjustments in monetary and economic policies as tools for exchange rate stability. Within the EMS framework, the participants succeeded in creating a zone of increasing monetary stability and gradually relaxing capital controls.

    The 1980s: The Exchange Rate Mechanism

    The Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), established in 1979 which forms the core of the EMS, provides a means for stabilizing exchange rates between member states of the ERM. All then member states of the EU except the UK joined the ERM.

    Later, Spain followed in 1989 and Portugal in 1992; the UK in 1990, but was forced to withdraw from the ERM, along with Italy, in autumn 1992. The fixed exchange rate system was build around the artificial European Currency Unit (ECU). The ECU served as apayment and accounting unit for payment transactions between central banks.

    The 1990s: Steps to EMU

    Stage One: The abolition of all internal barriers to the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital within EU MS.

    Stage Twostarted with the establishment of the European Monetary Institute (EMI), the predecessor of the European Central Bank (ECB), on 1 January 1994.

    Stage Three: On 1 January 1999, the final stage of EMU, started with the irrevocable fixing of the conversion rates of the currencies of the 11 Member States initially participating, and with the introduction of the euro as the single currency.

    1st January 2002: Distribution of Euro banknotes and coins

    Conversion rates Institutions

    Entry Terms Institutions

    Joining the EURO AREA: Conditions for Institutions Entry (1)

    ”The process of building Europe is one of progressive integration. The single market for goods, services, capital and labour, launched in 1986, was a major step in this direction.

    Economic and Monetary Union and the euro take economic integration even further, and to join the euro area Member States must fulfil certain economic and legal conditions.

    Adopting the single currency is a crucial step in a Member State's economy. Its exchange rate is irrevocably fixed and monetary policy istransferred to the hands of the European Central Bank, which conducts it independently for the entire euro area. The economic entry conditions are designed to ensure that aMember State's economy is sufficiently prepared for adoption of the single currency and can integrate smoothly into the monetary regime of the euro area without risk of disruption for the Member State or the euro area as a whole. In short, the economic entry criteria are intended to ensure economic convergence – they are known as the 'convergence criteria' (or 'Maastricht criteria') and were agreed by the EU Member States in 1991 as part of the preparations for introduction of the euro.

    In addition to meeting the economic convergence criteria, a euro-area candidate country must make changes to national laws and rules, notably governing its national central bank

    and other monetary issues, in order to make them compatible with the Treaty. In particular, national central banks must be independent, such that the monetary policy decided by the

    European Central Bank is also independent.

    The Member States which were the first to adopt the euro in 1999 had to meet all these conditions. The same entry criteria apply to all countries which have since adopted the euro and all those that will in the future.”

    European Commission. Economic and Financial Affairs. The Euro. Who can join and when

    Joining the EURO AREA: Convergence Criteria Institutions (2)

    • To ensure sustainable convergence, the EC Treaty sets criteria which must be met by each EU Member State before taking part in the third stage of EMU.

    • • Budgetary deficit to GDP not exceeds a reference value as 3%.

    • • The ratio of government debt to GDP not exceeds a reference value as 60%.

    • • There must be a sustainable degree of price stability and an average inflation rate, observed over a period of one year before the examination; which does not exceed by more than 1.5 points that of the three best performing Member States in terms of price stability;

    • There must be a long-term nominal interest rate which does not exceed by more than 2% points that of the three best performing Member States in terms of price stability;

    • • The normal fluctuation margins provided for by the exchange rate mechanism must be respected without severe tensions for at least the last two years before the examination.

    • Monitoring the Maastricht Criteria

    • Monitoring of interest rates and inflation isnot necessary (single policy of the ECB)

    • On fiscal policy, national governmentspresent „stability programmes“ showing theirfiscal policy plans over the next 4 years (goal:Zero-Deficit at the end of the planninghorizon)

    • Deficits above 3 % are allowed if country is ina deep recession (GDP –2%) or hit by severedisturbances not under the influence of fiscalpolicy

    • Early warning, when deficit comes close to3%: Government must propose actions howto reduce deficits (also for non-Euro-states!)

    • Excessive deficit procedure: When deficit isabove 3% of GDP, Ministerial council decidesabout procedure.

    • If member country fails to meet the deficitcriterion, European Council can decide on measures.

    Joining the EURO AREA: Convergence Criteria Institutions (4)

    ”Who decides if the convergence criteria are met?

    According to the Treaty, at least once every two years, or at the request of a Member State with a derogation, the Commission and the European Central Bank assess the progress made by the euro-area candidate countries and publish their conclusions in respective convergence reports.

    On the basis of its assessment, the Commission submits a proposal to the Council which, having consulted the European Parliament, and after discussion in the Council, a meeting among the heads of state or government decides whether the country fulfils the necessary conditions and may adopt the euro. If the decision is favourable, the Council abrogates the derogation and, based on a Commission proposal, having consulted the ECB, adopts the conversion rate at which the national currency will be replaced by the euro, which thereby becomes irrevocably fixed.”

    European Commission. Economic and Financial Affairs. The Euro. Who can join and when

    • Members of the EUROZONE in May 1998

    • Austria

    • Belgium

    • Cyprus

    • Estonia

    • Finland

    • France

    • Germany

    • Greece

    • Ireland

    • Italy

    • Luxemburg

    • Malta

    • Netherlands

    • Portugal

    • Slovakia

    • Slovenia

    • Spain

    Countries, using the EURO (320 million Europeans)

    1) Andorra2) Austria3) Belgium4) Cyprus5) Estonia6) Finland7) France8) Germany9) Greece10) Ireland11) Italy12) Kosovo13) Luxembourg14) Malta15) Monaco16) Montenegro17) Netherlands18) Portugal19) San Marino20) Slovakia21) Slovenia22) Spain23) Vatican City

    EU in May 1998Eurozone (17)

    EU states obliged to join the Eurozone once they fulfil the entrance criteria (8)

    EU state with an opt-out on Eurozone participation (UK)

      EU state with an opt-out which may be abolished by a future referendum (Denmark)

      States outside the EU with issuing rights (3)

      Other non-EU users (4)

    New Member States: Moving toward in May 1998Convergence?

    CPI inflation rates in the EMU accession countries, 2004 – 2007 (annual rate in %)

    Lipinska, A (2008). The Maastricht Convergence Criteria and Optimal Monetary Policy for the EMU Accession Countries. ECB Working Paper Series, No 896.

    New Member States: Moving toward in May 1998Convergence?

    Nominal exchange rate fluctations versus euro of the accession countries,

    2006 – 2008 (average monthly change since the EU accession date)

    Lipinska, 2008.

    New Member States: Moving toward in May 1998Convergence?

    Correlation Coefficient of Visegrad countries‘ currencies and EURO against USD, 1994-2005

    Source: CNB

    Value of 1 = currency area

    New Member States: Moving toward in May 1998Convergence?

    Zloty against Euro and US Dollar, Q1-2000 – Q3-2013

    Source: National Bank of Poland

    Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II) in May 1998

    ”The Agreement of 16 March 2006 between the European Central Bankand the national central banks (NCBs) of the Member States outside the euro area layed down the operating proceduresfor an exchange rate mechanism in stage three of

    the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    Participation in ERM II is optional for the non-euro area Member States, but those Member States with a derogation can be expected to join. ERM II ensures that participating Member States orient their policies to stability and convergence, helping them in their efforts to adopt the euro.

    A central rate is determined between the euro and each participating non-euro area currency, with a standard fluctuation band of 15% above and below that rate. All parties to the mutual agreement on the central rates, including the European Central Bank, have the right to initiate a confidential procedure to reconsider the rates.

    Decisions are taken by common accord by the ministers of the euro area Member States, the ECB and the ministers and central bank governors of the non-euro area Member States participating in the new mechanism, in accordance with a common procedure involving the Commission and following consultation of the Economic and Financial Committee.

    Under the Agreement, intervention is, in principle, effected in euro and the participating currencies. The ECB and the NCB or NCBs concerned inform each other about all foreign exchange intervention.” European Commission. Summaries of EU legislation.ERM

    Monetary in May 1998Policy

    Monetary in May 1998Policy in the European Union: European Central Bank

    “The primary objective of the Eurosystem shall be to maintain price stability.

    The Governing Council aims to maintain inflation rates at levels below, but close to,

    2% over the medium term.“ ECB. Facts

    Evaluating ECB‘s Monetary Policy in May 1998

    Two levels of evaluation: - Euro area as a whole

    - Individual member states of the euro area

    The evaluation has to take into account the external shocks, esp. the 2007 financial crisis.

    “....monetary policy was too accomodative throughout much of the history of the ECB, particularly during periods of economic expansion. ..To the extent that the New Keynesian framework provides a reasonable representation of the euro-area economy, the ECB monetary policy has been quite appropriate in responding to the changing economic conditions in the euro area, especially over the periods of an economic downturn.

    Even though monetary policy is found to be appropriate for the euro area as a whole, there is evidence of disparities from the standpoint of individual

    Member countries. In particular, the ECB appeared to have reacted more aggressively to changing economic conditions in the major “core“ members, such as France and Germany. On the other hand, monetary policy was too loose for some “peripheral“ countries, such as Ireland and Portugal, which experienced relatively high inflation at times. This contrast highlights one of the challenges in implementing monetary policyfor a region with heterogeneous national economic conditions.“ Lee, J and Crowley, P (2010). Evaluating the Monetary Policy of the European Central Bank. Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

    Euro Crisis vs. Global Crisis: in May 1998

    Is the ECB Acting Differently to Other Central Banks?

    Main Characteristics of Central Bank Mandates

    Source: Pisani-Ferry, J. and Posen, A.S. (2010). From Convoy to Parting Ways?

    Euro Crisis vs. Global Crisis: in May 1998

    Is the ECB Acting Differently to Other Central Banks?

    The Period 2007-2010

    ECB, Fed, BoE; Similarity in interest rate policies after Lehmann shock

    Source: Pisani-Ferry, J. and Posen, A.S. (2010). From Convoy to Parting Ways?, p. 12.

    Euro Crisis vs. Global Crisis: in May 1998

    Is the ECB Acting Differently to Other Central Banks?

    “The ECB has consistently rejected the ideas that it either had to go beyond the provision of

    liquidity to banks, to overcome the zero bound through purchasing of government bonds, or

    to attempt to influence the shape of the yield curve. The asset purchase programmes it

    announced (a covered bonds purchase programme in 2009 and a sovereign bonds purchase

    programme in 2010) were intended to be of limited magnitude and to be sterilized so as to

    have no impact on aggregate money supply. Consistent with this approach, the ECB’s

    balance sheet increased expanded by far less than those of the two other central banks.

    Also credit easing (i.e. specific asset purchase programmes undertaken with the

    aim of restoring liquidity in asset market segments) was undertaken by all three

    central banks, but to an uneven degree.The Fed undertook early on to unfreeze

    clogged market segments such as the commercial paper as well as student loan

    and other securitization markets. The BoE offered a commercial paper facility,

    but had few takers. Through the early stages of the crisis, the ECB was satisfied

    with its liquidity provision measures to the banking system, perhaps because of

    the greater importance of bank lending versus securities markets in the Euro Area.

    As indicated already, the ECB did undertake credit easing actions, however, at a late

    stage after the Greek crisis erupted in early 2010 and it did it with evident reluctance, without

    having stated its aims, and only for a rather short period.”

    Source: Pisani-Ferry, J. and Posen, A.S. (2010). From Convoy to Parting Ways? p. 12

    ECB‘s conservative asset purchasing program before the Greece crisis emerged

    Central Bank‘s balance sheet, 01/2007 – 03/2010

    Source: Pisani-Ferry, J. and Posen, A.S. (2010). From Convoy to Parting Ways?, p. 13.

    ECB‘s Lack of Quantitative Easing? Greece crisis emerged

    “For all three central banks, broad money growth went way down after the crisis (less so on

    this measure for the UK than for the US or Euro Area). In fact, the largest sustained decline

    in trend monetary growth versus pre-crisis average has taken place in the Euro Area,

    perhaps as a result of the lack of quantitative easing undertaken by the ECB. Remember,

    this is broad money so a measure of credit outcomes, not of an instrument like base money

    which the central bank controls.

    (Quantitative easing is a substitute for interest rate policy when traditional monetary stimulus

    has reached its limits and/or been frustrated by financial instability.)”

    Source: Pisani-Ferry, J. and Posen, A.S. (2010). From Convoy to Parting Ways?, p. 13-14.

    Summary for the Period 2007 - 2010 Greece crisis emerged

    “In the end, central bank policy reactions to the crisis demonstrated both remarkable initial convergence in view of dissimilar traditions and institutional constraints across the Atlantic, and significant divergences in policy strategy, the instruments used, and ultimately on the outlook once the worst had passed. Even the sovereign debt crisis of spring 2010 did not prompt greater activism from the ECB beyond immediate and targeted liquidity provision. On the basis of the track record this far and the policy announcements made, we posit that divergences are likely to grow larger in the aftermath of the recovery.”Source: Pisani-Ferry, J. and Posen, A.S. (2010). From Convoy to Parting Ways?, p. 16.

    “Throughout the first stages of the crisis, similar to other central banks in high income

    countries, the ECB addressed the unprecidented liquiditiy problems across a broad

    spectrum of financial institutions by extending the volume and average maturity of its

    liquidity provision.“ Source: Gabor, D. (2011), The ECB and the European Debt Crisis, p. 4.

    “The ECB’s actions since the onset of the financial crisis have been bold, and yet

    firmly anchored within the medium-term framework of our monetary policy strategy.”  

    Former ECB President Trichet, 2009.

    ECB: Its Emerging Greece crisis emerged

    Active Role in Europ.

    Sovereign Debt Crisis

    Sept. 2008

    Lehman Brothers

    January 2010

    US Fed, BofE, BofC, BofJ

    Credit easing

    (purchase of private assets)

    Onset of European

    sovereign debt crisis


    November 2010

    March 2009

    Oct. 2009

    US Fed

    QE completed

    US Fed

    Second QE round

    US Fed, BofE

    Quantitative easing

    (purchase of sovereign assets)

    Feb. 2010

    IRELAND bailout

    April 2011


    QE completed



    GREECE bailout


    Covered bonds



    ‘Addicted to liquidity’


    Securities Market


    (Credit easing)


    Enhanced credit support

    (Bank refinancing vs. market


    Sept. 2010

    July 2009

    May 2010


    Interest rate rise

    (Separation Principle)


    Phasing out

    6m and 1y LTRO

    October 2008


    Initiation phasing out



    Announcement CBPP

    1year LTRO

    SMP Suspended

    European Financial

    Stability Facility

    Dec. 2009

    European Stability


    June 2010

    May 2009

    March 2011

    Source: Gabor, D. (2011), The ECB and the European Debt Crisis, p. 6.

    ECB and the Crisis: 3 Turning Points Greece crisis emerged

    Source: Gabor, D. (2012), The ECB and the European Crisis.

    Point 1, May 2009: strategic appropriation (CBP) Greece crisis emerged

    Point 2, May 2010: sound money or too little, too late?

    Point 3, March 2011:putting politics in itsplace

    Implicit analytical recognition

    that sovereign debt

    instruments are special

    ESM as crisis

    resolution mechanism

    Commitment to


    Source: Gabor, D. (2012), The ECB and the European Crisis.

    ECB and the Crisis: The 4 Greece crisis emergedth Turning Point –Outright Monetary Transactions ("OMT")

    “On 2 August 2012, the Governing Council of the ECB announced that it would

    undertake outright transactions in secondary, sovereign bond markets, aimed

    "at safeguarding an appropriate monetary policy transmission and the singleness

    of the monetary policy." The technical framework of these operations was

    formulated on 6 September 2012.

    OMT denotes the European Central Bank's purchases in secondary, sovereign

    bond markets, under certain conditions, of bonds issued by Eurozone member-states.

    OMT is considered by the European Central Bank once a Eurozone

    government asks for financial assistance.From ESM and ESFS and through OMT,

    the Eurozone's central bank can, henceforth, buy government-issued bonds that

    mature in 1 to 3 years, provided the bond issuing countries agree to certain domestic

    economic measures - the latter being the so-called term of ‘conditionality’.

    The aim is to bring bond yields, at the long end of the curve (i.e. 10 years), down to

    levels that lower borrowing costs for countries that face problems selling debt, and,

    thus, provide investors with confidence in the euro for them to buy up bonds in a

    normal market.

    OTM are not the same as Quantitative Easing operations, since, in the latter, the

    central banks buy bonds and, by doing so, inject liquidity into the banking system,

    with the aim of stimulating economic activity. The ECB has made clear1 that the

    principle of "full sterilisation"3 will apply, whereby the bank will be absorbing back

    the money pumped into the system ‘by any means necessary’.”


    Source: Greece crisis emerged

    Summing up:Bank-based and Market based Crisis Measures, ECB, 2008-2011

    Gabor, D. (2012), The Power of Collateral: the ECB and Bank Funding Strategies in Crisis, p. 24.

    ……and the future? 2008-2011

    ECB: Secret Bailout Strategy Under the EU Rescue Umbrella?

    Greece Lightening 2008-2011

    Economist, Nov. 05, 2011.