Mario Draghi ob slovesu o nujnosti koordinacije ekonomskih politik in fiskalne unije

Karkoli si kdo, tudi najbolj ostri nemški kritiki, misli o učinkovitosti nekonvencionalnih oblik monetarne politike ECB v zadnjih petih letih, je treba priznati, da gre večinska zasluga za obstanek evropske monetarne unije (evra) eni sami osebi – Mariju Draghiju. Draghi je najboljši dokaz za to, da institucijo naredijo ljudje. Ne upam si pomisliti, kaj bi se zgodilo z evrsko unijo, če bi ECB še naprej vodil Jean-Claude Trichet ali kak nemški jastreb. Draghi je julija 2012 z eno samo stavčno zvezo, katere ključni del so tri besedice – “whatever it takes“, umiril špekulativne napade finančnih trgov na šibke članice evro območja. Dve leti kasneje pa napovedal in kasneje tudi operativno izpeljal – tako teoretsko kot pravno – sporno “monetarno sproščanje” prek odkupovanja državnih obveznic, da bi inflacijska pričakovanja “zasidral” v območju blizu 2%.

V prvem primeru ni potreboval niti enega strela (evra), da umiri ponorele finančne trge, dovolj je bila njegova beseda, v drugem primeru je porabil za 2,900 milijard (evrov) municije, pri čemer se core inflacija ni premaknika niti za milimeter višje. Vendar to morda niti ni bil pravi namen Draghija, kot se v kuloarjih slišijo različne teorije zarote. Glede na to, da je v tem nepredstavljivo velikem paketu odkupljenih obveznic približno za polovico italijanskih državnih obveznic, je morda Draghi res reševal le Italijo in še kakšno periferno evrsko državo, ki sicer ne bi uspele refinancirati svojih tekočih zapadlih obveznosti in bi v končni fazi postale nesolventne. To pa bi seveda pomenilo šok za finančni sistem in razpad evro območja, saj je Italija mnogo prevelika za bail-out grškega tipa. Tudi če je bilo monetarno sproščanje zgolj krinka za reševanje Italije in ostalih perifernih evrskih držav, gre Draghiju vsa zasluga, da je s tem rešil evro. Šele zgodovina bo iz dovoljšnje časovne distance lahko to presodila.

Ob slovesu je Mario Draghi lepo predstavil ključna spoznanja iz njegovega mandata, predvsem iz vidika spremembe konceptualnega okvirja monetarne politike in nato glede šibkosti osamljene monetarne politike in o nujnosti koordinacije ekonomskih politik v njihov optimalni miks, če hočemo, da ECB doseže cilj cenovne stabilnosti, ter glede nujnosti oblikovanja fiskalne unije z delitvijo tveganj, če želimo, da se evrska mnetarna unija obdrži pri življenju. Spodaj je nekaj odlomkov iz slednjega. Kljub dolgočasni latovščini je Draghi zelo zelo jasen.

The second lesson concerns the institutional construction of EMU.

The euro area is built on the principle of “monetary dominance”, which requires monetary policy to be single-minded in its focus on price stability and never to be subordinate to fiscal policy. “Monetary dominance” does not preclude communicating with governments when it is clear that mutually aligned policies would deliver a faster return to price stability. It means that alignment between policies, where needed, must serve the objective of monetary stability and should not work to the detriment of it.[3]

Today, we are in a situation where low interest rates are not delivering the same degree of stimulus as in the past, because the rate of return on investment in the economy has fallen. Monetary policy can still achieve its objective, but it can do so faster and with fewer side effects if fiscal policies are aligned with it.

This is why, since 2014, the ECB has gradually placed more emphasis on the macroeconomic policy mix in the euro area.[4] A more active fiscal policy in the euro area would make it possible to adjust our policies more quickly and lead to higher interest rates.

In our monetary union, national policies play the main role in fiscal stabilisation – much more so than state-level policies in the US. But national policies cannot always guarantee the right fiscal stance for the euro area as a whole. Coordinating decentralised fiscal policies is inherently complex. And uncoordinated policies are not enough, because the spillovers between countries from fiscal expansions are relatively low.

This is why we need a euro area fiscal capacity of adequate size and design: large enough to stabilise the monetary union, but designed not to create excessive moral hazard.

There will be no perfect solution. When risks are shared, moral hazard can never be reduced to zero, though it can be greatly contained by proper design. At the same time, we should also recognise that sharing risks can help reduce risks.

The building of a capital markets union, which would lead to greater risk-sharing in the private sector, would considerably reduce the fraction of risks that need to be managed by a central fiscal capacity. And a central fiscal capacity would in turn reduce risks for the whole union when national policies are unable to play their role.

In other regions where fiscal policy has played a greater role since the crisis, we have seen that the recovery began sooner and the return to price stability has been faster. The US had a deficit of 3.6% on average from 2009 to 2018, while the euro area had a surplus of 0.5%.[5]

In other words, the US has had both a capital markets union and a counter-cyclical fiscal policy. The euro area had no capital markets union and a pro-cyclical fiscal policy.

The road towards a fiscal capacity will most likely be a long one. History shows that budgets have rarely been created for the general purpose of stabilisation, but rather to deliver specific goals in the public interest. In the US, it was the need to overcome the Great Depression that led to the expansion of the federal budget in the 1930s. Perhaps, for Europe, it will require an urgent cause such as mitigating climate change to bring about such collective focus.

Whichever path is taken, it is plain to see that now is the time for more Europe, not less. I mean this not in an axiomatic way, but in the truest traditions of federalism. Where results can best be delivered by national policies, let it stay that way. But where we can only deliver on the legitimate concerns of the public by working together, we need Europe to be stronger.

For us Europeans, in a globalised world, a true sovereignty that meets people’s needs for security and prosperity can be achieved only by working together.[6] As Chancellor Merkel has said, “we Europeans have to take our destiny into our own hands if we want to survive as a community”.[7]

Working together allows us to protect our interests in the world economy, to resist the pressures of foreign powers, to influence global rules to reflect our standards, and to enforce our values on global corporations. None of these can be achieved to the same degree by countries acting alone. In a globalised world, sharing sovereignty is a way to regain sovereignty.

Vir: Mario Draghi, ECB

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