The European Stability Mechanism hangs by a thread – on France’s credit rating

The ESM and its image

As previously published on IREF Europe:


The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) backstops the euro. Its nominal size is €705 billion but its lending capacity is lower at €500 billion, and the main condition attached to that is that the member states guarantees of the ESM’s solvency must be good enough […]

Eurozone’s ‘shadow debts’ start to become real ones, and threaten the Bundesbank with bankruptcy

Published by The Bruges Group on 29 June 2023

The German Federal Audit Office (‘Bundesrechnungshof’) has warned that the Bundesbank may need a bailout due to losses on the EUR650 billion of bonds it bought as part of the Eurozone’s equivalent of Quantitative Easing. The Daily Telegraph reported on this on 26 June.

Of course the risk […]

There cannot be a Euro ‘Central Bank Digital Currency’ – because there isn’t any Euro ‘Central Bank Money’

From the ECB’s website

The European Central Bank is one of several institutions in the central banking world to be investigating the introduction of a ‘Central Bank Digital Currency’ or CBDC. They refer to it as the ‘digital euro’.

The above paragraphs are from their website section about the ‘digital euro’ project and attempt to define what […]

Leaving the EU meant dodging not just one bullet – but an annual volley

Published by Brexitwatch on 23rd June 2023

We are well off out of the EU’s dysfunctional system, but much remains to be done to extinguish its vestiges in the UK.

You can download the pdf version of this article here.

Thanks to Brexit the UK has managed to dodge a bullet: the risk of paying up for the […]

‘Plain Sailing for the ECB? Look out for the rocks!’

I am delighted to feature here the recent paper by Barney Reynolds, ‘Plain Sailing for the ECB? Look out for the rocks!’, Politeia, 2023 –

You can download it here.

Barney was co-author with myself and Professor David Blake of Managing Euro Risk: Saving Investors from Systemic Risk (Politeia, 2020, ISBN 978-1-9163575-1-8).

His latest Politeia paper builds […]

Totality of on- and off-balance sheet liabilities of the EU public sector is cloaked in obscurity

Total EU public sector debt is shrouded in mystery

The totality of the public sector liabilities of EU and Eurozone member states is clouded in obscurity.  The key measure tracked by Eurostat – ‘General government gross debt’ – is circumvented to such an extent that, based on year-end 2021 figures, debts of around €6.4 trillion failed […]

The archipelago of EU public sector entities with borrowing powers has created a behemoth of liabilities

EU public sector entities harbour a debt mountain

The EU member states contain numerous public sector entities with borrowing powers, and whose debts fall outside the definition of member state debt as reported by Eurostat. The responsibility for the debts tracks back, one way or another, to the member state but the amounts involved are opaque. […]

Sir John Redwood comments for The Bruges Group

Sir John Redwood in conversation about the issues of EU and Eurozone debts as raised in my book ‘The shadow liabilities of EU Member States, and the threat they pose to global financial stability’.

Sir John Redwood on the debts of EU and Eurozone

The EU banking system has massively exaggerated the amount of its cushion against losses

EU banking system has a tiny loss cushion

EU authorities have permitted commercial banks to implement a particularly aggressive form of risk-evaluation methodology, the result of which is the ability to claim a thick loss-absorption cushion and to attest that the EU banking system is stable and resilient. It isn’t: cushions are as thin as before […]

The Eurosystem has become a commercial bank, except one without a credit assessment department or loss-absorption cushion

The Eurosystem is a commercial bank with no capital

The Eurosystem has expanded its operations well beyond what a central bank would have traditionally undertaken. It now owns assets that are not ‘central bank money’ definitionally. Assets have credit ratings as low as BB in the Standard and Poor’s system, which means they are ‘Speculative Grade’ […]