De funeste weigerachtigheid van de ECB

BERKELEY – Vorig jaar december, toen het Europese financiële systeem op de rand van een catastrofe balanceerde, overrompelde de Europese Centrale Bank de markten met een ongekende interventie: zij bood banken in de eurozone feitelijk toegang tot ongelimiteerde liquiditeit, voor een uitzonderlijke periode van drie jaar en tegen alle mogelijke vormen van onderpand.

De crisis op het Europese continent werd door deze verrassende liquiditeitsoperatie van de ECB feitelijk tot staan gebracht. Nu, slechts vier maanden later, bereiken de zaken echter opnieuw een kritiek punt. Spanje en Italië, de grote Zuid-Europese landen, zakken aangeslagen door alle bezuinigingen in een recessiespiraal. Terwijl de economische omstandigheden verslechteren, wordt er getwijfeld aan de budgettaire rekenkunsten van hun regeringen, wordt de politieke steun voor structurele hervormingen ondermijnd en staat de stabiliteit van het banksysteem weer ter discussie, terwijl dat eerder een afgesloten hoofdstuk leek.

De eurozone lijkt weer op het punt van uiteenvallen te staan. Moet de ECB opnieuw in de bres springen?

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