9 de maio de 2012

Euro - uma história coberta de vergonhas e mentiras

Caros leitores e leitoras, este post é para nós da maior importância, porque revela a cultura de mediocridade e de total ausência de princípios técnicos aquando da adesão de alguns países ao euro em 1999. 

A história, trazida pelo Der Spiegel, revela o modo como a classe política alemã e italiana lidaram com a adesão da Itália ao euro.
Abaixo remetemos os parágrafos que consideramos mais relevantes. O artigo completo em inglês está disponível através do link acima referido.

Afinal, os mais altos representantes políticos europeus sabiam dos problemas orçamentais de Itália, nomeadamente o seu nível de endividamento, e foram devidamente alertados para o efeito...

Documents from the Kohl administration, kept confidential until now, indicate that the euro's founding fathers were well aware of its deficits. And that they pushed ahead with the project regardless.

The documents prove what was only assumed until now: Italy should never have been accepted into the common currency zone. The decision to invite Rome to join was based almost exclusively on political considerations at the expense of economic criteria. It also created a precedent for a much bigger mistake two years later, namely Greece's acceptance into the euro zone.

In Maastricht, Kohl and other European leaders had agreed that the total debt of a euro candidate could be no more than 60 percent of its annual economic output, "unless the ratio is declining sufficiently and is rapidly approaching the reference value."

But Italy's debt level was twice that amount, and the country was only approaching the reference value at a snail's pace. Between 1994 and 1997, its debt ratio declined by all of three percentage points.

The skepticism is reflected in the documents. On Feb. 3, 1997, the German Finance Ministry noted that in Rome "important structural cost-saving measures were almost completely omitted, out of consideration for the social consensus." On April 22, speaker's notes for the chancellor stated that there was "almost no chance" that "Italy will fulfill the criteria." On June 5, the economics department of the Chancellery reported that Italy's growth outlook was "moderate" and that progress on consolidation was "overrated."

In 1998, the decisive year for the introduction of the euro, nothing about this assessment had changed. In preparation for a meeting with an Italian government delegation on Jan. 22, State Secretary Stark noted that the "longevity of solid public finances" was "not yet guaranteed."

In the end, the Italians formally fulfilled the Maastricht criteria with a combination of tricks and fortunate circumstances. The country benefited from historically low interest rates, and Ciampi proved to be a creative financial juggler. He introduced, for example, a "Europe tax" and carried out a clever accounting trick, which involved selling national gold reserves to the central bank and imposing a tax on the profits. The budget deficit shrank accordingly. Even though EU statisticians ultimately did not acknowledge this trickery, it symbolized the fundamental Italian problem: The budget was not structurally balanced, but in fact had benefited from special effects.

... Afinal todos sabiam que a Itália tinha maquilhado as contas para entrar no Euro...

Still, the situation made it difficult for Germany to play judge, particularly given the lack of formal proof that Italy was in violation. In the spring of 1998, the statistical office of the European Union certified that the Italians had satisfied the deficit criteria of the Maastricht Treaty. This meant that there was "no longer any reason to bar the Italians accession to the euro," as Waigel recalls. After this hurdle had been removed for the Italians, "they had a sort of legal claim to be allowed to be part of the euro from the very beginning," Waigel's former top official Regling says today.

Many knew that the figures were sugarcoated, and that they hardly represented real debt reduction. But no one dared draw the consequences. Kohl trusted Ciampi's reassuring claims that the Italians would continue to pursue the "cammino virtuoso" ("virtuous path") they had embarked upon and would "be unrelenting in efforts to clean up the budget." The government in Rome predicted that its debt level would sink to 60 percent of GDP by no later than 2010.

... Este é a Europa política aquando da criação do euro: aldrabões italianos com alemães sem coragem... 

According to Stenglin, the budget showed the lowest cost-cutting figures since the beginning of the consolidation course in the early 1990s. Additional tax revenues, he noted, would no longer be used solely to reduce the deficit, but also to pay for new spending, particularly on social programs. The government, Stenglin wrote, could not avoid giving the impression that it was "more interested in a departure from the strict consolidation course of recent years than in doing everything possible to set aside doubts concerning the sustainability of Italy's public finances."

When Prodi was replaced a short time later by former Communist Massimo d'Alema, the situation deteriorated even further. D'Alema proposed financing a European economic stimulus program through euro bonds and not factoring the associated expenditures into the national deficits.

... O horror à austeridade não é uma doença de agora. Já nesta altura tudo se fazia para fugir às políticas "anti-votos"

A few weeks before the launch of the common European currency, Stenglin's assessment of the situation took on a dramatic undertone, when he wrote: "The question arises as to whether a country with an extremely high debt ratio doesn't risk gambling away the success of its consolidation efforts to date, thereby harming not only itself, but also the monetary union." It was a prophetic remark. In the fall of 2011, when the country was pulled into the maelstrom of the crisis, the debt ratio had risen above 120 percent of GDP once again.

... Os avisos de nada serviram. O erro estava feito, sobretudo por pressões meramente políticas. As questões técnicas, essas, ficaram "na gaveta".

Ninguém queria perder o comboio do euro. E o que se fez ANTES da adesão continuou a perpetrar-se DEPOIS:

1. maquilhagem orçamental, às vezes com recurso aos bancos de investimento para "ajudar"
2. desorçamentação massiva
3. endividamento sem regra
4. não cumprimento das regras de ouro do tratado de Maastricht, etc, etc

Para quem ainda tem dúvidas, todo este problema tem origem na falta de MORALIDADE e de PRINCÍPIOS. 
A incapacidade de dizer NÃO nos momentos certos permitiu a geração de todos estes disparates políticos. Para quem anda por aí a dizer que são preciso estadistas como... Helmut Köhl e outros, pense 2 vezes!


Balanço de tudo isto? 
500 milhões de europeus enganados, defraudados e uma boa parte deles já desesperados.

Há muito que aqui no Contas desconfiamos das decisões políticas destes líderes. Não nos cansámos de afirmar e reafirmar, mesmo correndo riscos de passar informação contendo falhas ou erros, de toda esta aldrabice que estava a ser montada.

Para alguns leitores deve ter sido difícil de acreditar no início, como foi para nós. Qualquer pessoa de boa fé  acredita minimamente naquilo que os políticos dizem... até ao dia em que se encontram com a verdade e são forçados a mudar de opinião!

Tiago Mestre

1 comentário:

vazelios disse...

Incrivel mesmo.

Todos os paragrafos são relevantes mas destaque esta frase ridicula:

"The government in Rome predicted that its debt level would sink to 60 percent of GDP by no later than 2010"

Mas as pessoas ainda não perceberam, querem mais crescimento.