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In April 2011 I wrote a piece, entitled “It is the German banks stupid” in which I claimed that the primary reason why Europe was allowing a preventable debt crisis to engulf the Periphery had to do with the sorry state of the German banks and with the determination of the German government to do nothing that exposes their precarious condition. I called it the Great Banking Conundrum: how to deal with the Periphery’s public debts without revealing the depth of the black holes in Germany’s (and, less so, France’s) private sector banks. In that piece I opined that the powers that be in Frankfurt and Berlin were busy worrying about Germany’s banks:

“Only they do so in secret, behind closed doors, struggling to find a solution to the Great Banking Conundrum behind the European people’s backs and away from the spotlight of publicity. Their deliberations are now in a new phase, taking their cue from the Greek debt crisis. Lest I be misunderstood, the Greek crisis, however monstrous by Greek standards, is in itself no more than an annoyance for Europe’s surplus countries. A gross sum of €200 to €300 billion could be restructured quite easily or at least dealt with somehow. Its significance lies in the opportunity it offers Germany for revisiting the European banking disaster in its entirety. The Greek debt restructure, with its repercussions on Europe’s banks, is a useful case study; a dress rehearsal; an excuse to begin the process of taking the broader Great Banking Conundrum more seriously.”

EU seems to enter in a stage of disruption. We can see here, for instance an analysis of the situation.

We believe that as of July 2012 Europe is sleepwalking toward a disaster of incalculable proportions. Over the last few weeks, the situation in the debtor countries has deteriorated dramatically. The sense of a never-ending crisis, with one domino falling after another, must be reversed. The last domino, Spain, is days away from a liquidity crisis, according to its own  finance minister. This dramatic situation is the result of a euro zone system, which as it is currently constructed, is thoroughly broken. The cause is a systemic failure that exacerbated a boom in capital flows and credit and complicated its aftermath after the boom turned to bust. It is the responsibility of all European nations that were parties to its flawed design, construction, and implementation to contribute to a solution. This does not mean that the costs of the crisis should be socialised across euro zone citizens: systemic failure does not absolve from responsibility individuals, banks, and supervisors who took or oversaw imprudent lending and borrowing decisions. But it does mean that the extent to which markets are currently meting out punishment against specific countries may be a poor reflection of national responsibility, and
that a successful crisis response must be collective and embody some burden sharing across countries. Absent this collective constructive response, the euro will disintegrate.