Včerajšnja odločitev nemškega ustavnega sodišča, da evropski reševalni sklad ESM ni v nasprotju z ustavo, je prinesla veliko olajšanje med voditelji EU držav. Hkrati pa je ta odločitev odprla tudi pot naprej v smeri preobrazbe EU v transferno unijo. Bistvo koncepta transferne unije, na katerem temelji tudi nacionalna država s številnimi regijami, je v tem, da države (regije), ki so bolj uspešne – to pa so tudi zato, ker imajo koristi od enotnega trga – s transferji pomagajo bolj šibkim državam (regijam). To spoznanje pa je, zdi se, v Nemčiji sprožilo svojevrsten psihološki šok.
Nekaj dilem okrog tega, kaj odločitev nemškega ustavnega sodišča prinaša Nemčiji in ali se EU spreminja v transferno unijo, je poskušal osvetliti Spiegel v intevjuju s profesorjem ekonomije Thomasom Straubhaarjem iz univerze v Hamburgu ter direktorjem Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Straubhaar, the Federal Constitutional Court has rejected the urgent petitions to block the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the permanent euro backstop fund. Is the path to rescuing the euro now open?
Straubhaar: With the court’s approval of the ESM, at least one important precondition for the euro rescue is now in place. Whether it ultimately succeeds depends on whether investors start feeling confident again that the euro will still be there for a while. But even if it doesn’t succeed, I have no doubt that, if need be, politicians in all of the euro-zone countries are prepared to employ additional means to preserve the euro.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Additional means? But we already have the ESM. And, on top of that, the European Central Bank (ECB) has announced an unlimited program of purchasing sovereign bonds from crisis-ridden countries. What more can be done?
Straubhaar: For now, the ESM can lend a maximum of €500 billion ($645 billion). But we know full well that this amount won’t suffice, especially if Spain and Italy, for example, are cut off from the private capital market. If that were to happen, we’d have to either load up the ESM anew, or the ECB would need to intervene more aggressively. In a currency union, when there are worries that the shared currency might collapse, one has to be willing to do everything to re-establish the lost confidence in its continuity.
Se EU s tem spreminja v transferno unijo?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: If the ECB and ESM intervene, there is a dramatic increase in Germany’s potential liability. With the ESM, that liability is currently limited to €190 billion, but it can be raised with the consent of Germany’s parliament. From the very beginning, there has been no cap on Germany’s liability through the ECB. Is Germany running the risk of overextending itself?
Straubhaar: What does overextension mean? That makes it sound like a state is a company that can go bankrupt and vanish from the market. That’s a major misapprehension. A country can perhaps become insolvent, but it can’t disappear any more than its population can. In this case, it’s not about surviving; it’s about redistribution issues. In the future, who will bear which burdens for solving problems? That’s a political question, not an economic one.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How does the Federal Constitutional Court’s ruling affect the issue of redistribution?
Straubhaar: In general, it means that we will have to accept the idea of more redistribution — and, of course, that means redistribution from the top down. Germany is a very prosperous economy in Europe, and a share of that prosperity will be redistributed to comparatively poorer European regions. That can be absolutely sensible if it causes the pie that supplies the basis for this distribution to grow larger.
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