Europe’s leaders may still harbour secret hopes that the European Central Bank will come to their rescue, but at least they seem to have understood that the surest way to make that happen is to deliver on what they have responsibility for, starting with budgets. Fiscal union is now officially on the European agenda.
The debate on fiscal union is bound to involve discussion about the issuance of eurozone bonds. Ideally, the scheme for issuing these bonds would ensure that in order to be attractive to overseas investors they are at least as safe as and more liquid than existing high-quality government bonds. It should also involve incentives to fiscal discipline so that participating governments contribute to keeping the new bonds on a sound footing.
A number of plans have been proposed. None are perfect but they deserve serious consideration to help the eurozone out of this crisis. Continue reading »