The EU studies, fractured, two rescue funds in parallel and the increase of resources of the IMF

The leaders of the European Union have described the current summit as “the most critical in the history of the European Union”, an occasion that Nicolas Sarkozy himself has described as “the last opportunity” to strengthen the shaky foundations of the institution.

At this Thursday’s meeting, they studied -among great disagreements- to advance the entry into force of the permanent rescue fund by one year and maintain the temporary fund until 2013, as well as increase IMF resources with bilateral loans. The EU leaders intend to increase the resources of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with bilateral loans from the central banks of the eurozone countries, which, according to the British newspaper Financial Times, amount to 150,000 million euros.

This amount could be completed with 50,000 million euros from countries that do not belong to the eurozone. The informal dinner of Heads of State and Government of the European Union (EU) discusses a draft agreement agreeing to accelerate the entry into force of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) as soon as the Member States add up to 90% of the commitments of capital have ratified it.

The desire of the leaders is for the ESM to enter into force in July 2012, one year ahead of schedule. The permanent rescue fund would also have loan capacity of a maximum of 500,000 million euros. This, combined with the capacity of 440,000 million euros of the temporary rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), allows to significantly increase the range of firearms of the Eurozone.

Berlin continues to oppose this possibility. In fact, the EFSF only has 250,000 million euros already after discounting the rescues of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. The ESM would also have the possibility to recapitalize directly the bank and the nature of a credit institution, which would guarantee access to funds from the European Central Bank (ECB), something that Germany rejects outright.

The proposal of Van Rompuy

The part referring to the rescue funds is entirely the proposal of Van Rompuy but includes the advance of the entry into force of the ESM as they have wanted Germany and France. It also corrects a mistake made a year ago when Berlin convinced Paris of the need to force private creditors to take off debt restructurings, which had a disastrous effect on the rating of European bonds. Now the eurozone will strictly adhere to the rules established by the IMF.

The leaders will make it clear that the cancellation of half of the Greek debt by banks has been a “unique and exceptional” case. The eurozone also wants the decisions to approve the ESM interventions to be a qualified majority of 85% in case the European Commission and the ECB conclude that urgent action is needed.

The draft does not yet say if the EU is heading towards a reform of the Treaty or a change in secondary legislation to forge the fiscal pact that will include automatic sanctions and more controls of national budgets. The leaders support the introduction of the golden rule on budgetary balance in the constitutions and create an automatic correction mechanism for cases of deviation.

The draft refers to the issue of Eurobonds, but only in the long-term

The Court of Justice of the EU would have jurisdiction to verify the transposition of this rule into national legislation. National budgets should be balanced in principle and countries may only incur deficits in exceptional economic circumstances or to reflect the impact of the economic cycle on the budget.

The Member States will have some margin, so those who do not deviate by more than 0.5% from nominal GDP will be considered to respect the rule and those with a debt level significantly lower than 60 may also have higher structural deficits. % of GDP. Countries that are under excessive deficit programs will send the EC and the Council a program with the necessary structural reforms to ensure a lasting correction of the excessive deficit.

The implementation of the program and the annual budgets will be supervised by the Commission and the Council, and a notification mechanism will be set up before their debt issuance plans. The excessive deficit procedure will also be reinforced so that there are more automatic sanctions for the non-compliers that will be adopted, on the proposal of the EC, unless a qualified majority of countries opposes it.

The draft also refers to the possible issuance of common debt (Eurobonds ), but only in the long term and after carrying out the reinforcement of fiscal discipline.

In this regard, the German Chancellor and the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, maintained their opposition to Eurobonds, despite having received this very important support at the EU summit, according to diplomatic sources.

The entrance of Serbia, only in 2012

On the other hand, the decision to grant Serbia the status of candidate country to enter the European club will have to wait for March 2012, according to diplomatic sources.

The decision will be made this Friday. This solution would give the Twenty-seven more time to judge whether Serbia has made sufficient progress in its relationship with Kosovo.

Some countries, especially Germany and Austria, have insisted that the EU should not grant Serbia candidate status until the situation in northern Kosovo improves.

Serbia applied for membership in the EU in December 2009 and two years later aspires to be accepted as an official candidate. Other states that are in this situation are Turkey, Macedonia, and Iceland, as well as Montenegro and Croatia, whose Treaty of Accession will be signed tomorrow.