Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Spain requests financial assistance for banks

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy and Treasury Minister, Cristobal Montoro, have asked the EU to recapitalise its banks, saying that they can no longer afford to borrow money on the international markets.

You may as well fill your pockets
with bottle tops
The Treasury Minister went a step further and admitted that the EU can't afford to bail out Spain, saying "technically, we can't really be rescued".

This comes as no surprise to most of us who have known for some time that Spain is on the brink of collapse and is too big to be bailed out.  The frankness of Señor Montoro's admission is surprising though as such honesty is taboo.

Montoro and Rajoy have asked "Europe" to recapitalise Spanish banks directly rather than loan the Spanish government billions of pounds they can't afford to pay back and impose crippling austerity measures on them precisely because not enough money exists in the EU to bail Spain out.  It's not a technicality as Señor Montoro suggests, it's a cold hard fact.

The Spanish are awaiting Angela Merkel's unilateral decision on how the €urozone will respond to Spain's request but as German banks are opposed to the idea, she is unlikely to concede without her pound of flesh.

This problem isn't "European" and the solution also isn't "European".  It's a €urozone problem and it's up to the €urozone to fix it (assuming the Spaniards don't want to grow a pair and leave).  It's not up to us to fix the €urozone, nor is it up to the Swiss, Norwegians, Icelanders, Liechtensteiners, Swedes, Danes, Czechs, Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgarians, Latvians, Lithuanians or Poles.  The more of our money the British government puts into the €urozone, the more we will lose when it fails.  The more they get involved in trying to sort out their mess, the more it looks like we are scared we won't survive the €uro's collapse when in reality they are lamenting the failure of their beloved EU.

It is long past the time to put our hands up and say "You know what? This is none of our business. You made your bed, you sleep in it. We can manage perfectly fine without you".  And we can manage perfectly fine, just like we always have done.  Our banks are exposed to the €uro but they're well capitalised.  Gordon Brown sold our gold for a pittance and bought €uro instead but the pound is still one of the currencies countries buy to back their own currency and the collapse of the €uro will prompt other countries to buy more sterling.

We have very little to lose and much to gain by the collapse of the single currency.  The amount of negative impact we experience will depend entirely on how far we distance ourselves from what is happening on the continent.