欧元区是合还是分?

作者:英国《金融时报》专栏作家 沃尔夫冈•明肖

“Whatever it takes” is not a bad motto for the fight to save the eurozone. And the same goes for the new European stability fund, which fills a yawning gap in the institutional fabric of the eurozone. But for this to work, we need clarity about which fights to fight and which instability to stabilise. And this is where the proposed reforms are likely to fail.

对旨在拯救欧元区的战斗而言,“尽一切努力”是个不错的口号。新的欧洲稳定基金亦是如此,该基金填补了欧洲机构组织中一个不断扩大的缺口。但要使其发挥作用,我们必须弄清楚要打的是哪些仗,要稳定的是哪些不稳定因素。而在这一点上,拟议中的改革可能无法取得成功。

When I heard Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the eurogroup of finance ministers, talk about a globally organised attack on the euro, I realised that the game was probably up. The reforms, desirable as they may be, are probably too late. Europe’s leaders are not solving the problem, they are fighting a public relations war. Their target is not economic imbalances, but speculators: hedge funds, investment banks, bond market vigilantes and, in particular, those ominous Anglo-Saxon rating agencies. “Whatever it takes” means that the European Union will set up a European rating agency, funded by public money and subject to European regulation.

当我听到欧元集团主席让-克劳德•容克(Jean-Claude Juncker)谈论说,这是一场针对欧元的有组织的全球性攻击时,我意识到改革计划可能已经完蛋了。尽管改革措施可能令人满意,但或许为时已晚。欧洲领导人们不是在解决问题,而是在打一场公关战。他们打击的对象不是经济失衡,而是投机者:对冲基金、投资银行、债券市场中的“积极分子”、特别是那些出语不祥的盎格鲁-撒克逊评级机构。“尽一切努力”意味着,欧盟将设立一家欧洲评级机构,由公共财政出资,受欧洲监管机构管理。

Their populism has spun out of control. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, still has difficulty in reining in the anti-Greek bigotry she unleashed in Germany during the early stages of the crisis. It seemed the politically expedient thing to do at the time.

欧洲的民粹主义运动已经失控。德国总理安格拉•默克尔(Angela Merkel)仍然难以遏制她在危机早期释放出的反希腊偏见情绪。目前看来,这是当时政治上的权宜之计。

We know from the history of European financial crises that politicians are ill-equipped to communicate with the financial markets. They are happy to take the bondholders’ money to finance their excessive deficits, and then act outraged when those bondholders retreat and push up interest rates. But look at this from the perspective of bond investors. Over the past nine months, they had to put up with the news that Greece had cheated for years, that a German chancellor was making political commitments without the readiness to back them up, and a Spanish prime minister in denial over his country’s deep structural problems. The bondholders know that the southern Europeans cannot get out of the mess through higher nominal growth. The rise in southern European interest rates is not the consequence of a speculative attack or a sinister plot. It is a belated realisation of an underlying misalignment.

从欧洲金融危机的历史中,我们得知,政治家们在与金融市场沟通方面能力有限。他们乐于利用债券持有人的资金,为超额赤字埋单,然而当这些债券持有人退出市场并推高利率时,又勃然大怒。但让我们从债券投资者的角度来思考一下这个问题。过去的9个月里,他们不得不忍受如下新闻:希腊多年来一直在作弊,德国总理作出了政治承诺,却没有准备好提供支持,西班牙首相否认自己的国家已陷入严重的结构性问题。债券持有者知道,南部欧洲无法凭借更高的名义增长率走出泥潭。南欧各国利率的不断攀升,不是投机性攻击或险恶阴谋的结果,而是对根本性失调迟来的领悟。

We have to ask: could a stability fund really solve this problem? Or a strengthened stability pact, as demanded by Ms Merkel? Have we not tried this before? Was the version agreed at a European summit in Dublin back in 1996 not significantly tougher than the current one? Did it not include the threat of sanctions? Did it not fail because Germany chose to ignore it?

我们不得不问:一只稳定基金真能解决这个问题吗?或是默克尔所要求的一个得到强化的稳定公约?我们以前不是已尝试过这么做了吗?早在1996年都柏林欧洲峰会上通过的公约版本,难道不比眼下的这个版本严格得多吗?那个版本不是已经包含了制裁威胁吗?其之所以失败,难道不是因为德国选择对其视若无睹吗?

Ms Merkel’s other proposal to deprive deficit countries of their voting rights is even less realistic. The logic behind it is that an organisation that relies on unanimous votes for important decisions can never impose a penalty on a member. True, but to deprive states of their democratic rights is unbelievably extreme in the pursuit of a fiscal goal. It is not as though the EU was suffering from an excess of democratic accountability. And since this would require a treaty change, do we really expect all 27 countries to vote for an abrogation of such fundamental rights?

默克尔的另一项提议,是剥夺赤字国家在欧盟的投票权,这甚至更不现实。其背后的逻辑是,一个在重大决定上都依赖于一致投票同意的组织,永远都无法对其成员实施惩罚措施。这没错,但为了追求一个财政目标,就剥夺成员国的民主权利,这种做法极端到了难以想象的程度。又不是欧盟的民主问责制度已经超越了可容忍的范围。而且,鉴于要通过这项提议需要对欧盟条约进行修改,我们真能指望全部27个成员国会投票同意废除这种基本权利吗?

Beyond a crisis resolution regime, any sustainable solution path would have to start with the creation of a single European sovereign bond. Jacques Delpla, a member of the French government’s Council for Economic Analysis, and Jakob von Weizsäcker, research fellow at Bruegel, the think-tank, last week presented an ingenious construction*. Under their scheme, a member state’s debt of up to 60 per cent of gross domestic product would be folded into a single bond, while governments remain responsible for any debts above that threshold. The scheme would provide governments with an incentive to reduce debt; create the world’s largest treasury market; reduce interest rates; give financial markets transparency about the quality of debt; and solve the European Central Bank’s dilemma over collateral policy. The scheme would require further institutional reform, including the setting up of an independent fiscal council, but this could be done outside the European treaties, if needed.

除却危机决议机制,任何可持续的解决之道都必须以单一欧洲主权债券的创建为出发点。法国政府经济分析委员会(Council of Economic Analysis)成员雅克•德尔普拉(Jacques Delpla)和智库机构布鲁塞尔欧洲和全球经济实验室(Bruegel)研究员雅各布•冯•魏茨泽克(Jakob von Weizsäcker)上周提出了一项巧妙构思。*根据他们的方案,可将成员国的一部分政府债券并入一个单一债券,规模上限是各国国内生产总值(GDP)的60%,而高于这个门槛的任何债务都仍将由各国政府承担。该方案将为欧盟各成员国政府提供一种削减债务的激励机制;创造出全球最大的国债市场;推低利率;让债务质量变得对金融市场更加透明;并解决欧洲央行(ECB)在抵押政策方面的两难局面。实施该方案需要进一步的制度改革,包括成立一家独立的财政委员会,但如果必要的话,这些都可以在欧盟条约之外进行。

Beyond this, we will probably need what I call a minimally sufficient fiscal union. We are talking about 5 per cent of eurozone GDP, a central policy core that includes, for example, a eurozone-wide unemployment insurance system. It could act as an automatic stabiliser to help cope with asymmetric shocks. And you need binding policy co-ordination mechanisms.

除此之外,我们可能还需要一个我称之为满足最低资金限额的财政联盟。我们说的是拿出相当于欧元区GDP总额5%的资金,这将是核心政策之核心,囊括的内容包括覆盖整个欧元区的失业保险体系等。这种财政联盟可以充当一种自动稳定器,帮助应对不对称冲击。此外我们还需要具有约束力的政策协调机制。

If you take the view that none of this is going to happen for political reasons, then I am afraid that the consequence would be eventual failure of Europe’s monetary union. Greece will probably default. I cannot see how the private sectors in Spain and Portugal are going to survive the adjustment without placing an intolerable burden on public finances. Unless the eurozone takes responsibility to solve these specific problems and simultaneously reforms its governing system, it will be in danger of cracking up.

如果你认为,出于政治原因,上述这些目标都无法实现,那么恐怕结果就是欧洲货币联盟的最终失败。希腊债务违约的可能性很高。我也看不出西班牙和葡萄牙的私人部门如何能够在不给公共财政添加难以承受的负担的情况下,安然度过这场调整。除非欧元区承担起解决这些具体问题的责任,同时对治理体系进行改革,否则就将面临分崩离析的危险。

I have heard the suggestion that this may be part of a German game plan to forge a small “core Europe” with Germany at the centre. I am not so sure but whether by design or accident, it would do lasting damage.

我曾听到过这样一种说法,即这一切可能都是德国战略的一部分,目的是打造一个以德国为中心的“核心欧洲”。对此我说不准,但不论是有意为之,还是偶然为之,这都将造成长久的损害。

I still hope that EU leaders choose integration over division, but what they are saying is not consistent with what I am hoping for. “Whatever it takes” sounds good. But I fear it is a lie.

我仍然希望,欧盟领导人选择“合”而不是“分”,但他们的言语中流露出的意图,与我的希望并不一致。“尽一切努力”听上去很美,但恐怕只是一个谎言。

*The Blue Bond Proposal, http://www.bruegel.org

*《蓝筹债券提案》(Blue Bond Proposal),www.bruegel.org

译者/管婧

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