Download Financial Times Europe ? 25 February 2020 (.PDF)
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Download Financial Times Europe – 25 February 2020 (.PDF)
They created a wave of bank failures in the 2000s. Western banks had accumulated trillions of dollars of debt. The global financial system had been destabilized and policymakers were finding it hard to build a consensus on how to restructure the system and restore stability. By 2009, the risks embedded in the system had become impossible to ignore. With so many debt defaults looming, governments were forced to confront the idea of a collective default, commonly known as a sovereign-debt crisis. Countries faced the prospect of having to roll over their debts into private debt instruments, potentially leaving hundreds of billions of dollars of debt on their balance sheets, which would have translated into financial distress in the case of a default. Investors feared the process would trigger a global financial panic and block short-term funding, making it difficult for governments to pay their bills. And where governments stopped paying, credit ratings agencies got nervous and downgraded sovereign bonds, creating a vicious cycle of ever-rising financial costs that triggered an unprecedented crisis in European banking.
For years, European leaders have failed to answer the question: what would happen if the whole system crashed? The euro, the worlds single currency, was founded on the aspiration to create a single European market with free movement of people, capital, goods and services, as well as a single political union. Central to this vision were the technical tools and technical rules that would help lift barriers and erase the differences. Instead of adopting a federal system in which laws would be made and enforced by governments, they agreed to adopt a single market in which differences could be given a fair hearing and traded against. They introduced rules for the banking and financial system that favoured competition and helped break the monopoly enjoyed by national banks before joining the single currency.