Europe – France

Germany at Its Rubicon

No country is economically more dependent on the survival of the euro than Germany: the export powerhouse thrived because Eurozone countries could borrow unlimited amounts of euros to buy German goods. But now that the gravy train has stopped in front of a mountain of unmanageable sovereign debt, Germany finds itself at war—with itself.

Greece’s Extortion Racket Jumps To The Next Level

Participants in the G-20 meeting in Cannes thought it would be a relaxed affair of photo ops, handshakes, and fancy dinners, interrupted by rubber stamping the Grand Plan of bailing out Greece, bondholders, and European banks. But then Giorgios Papandreou, prime minister of Greece, fired his bazooka. And the Greek extortion racket was back on.

Regulators Knew of Dexia’s Problems But Were Silenced

When a bank is allowed to collapse, the lies behind its financial statements come out of the woodwork—and Dexia, the bailed-out French-Belgian mega-bank that re-collapsed in early October, is no exception: a report surfaced with the damning results of an earlier investigation by French regulators. And then? Nothing.

German-French Fight Breaks Out Over Frigates

Germany and France kissed and made up before the G-20 powwow in Paris last weekend. A contrived show of unity to boost the markets. And it worked. But already, Germany is sniping at France again. Over money. Because German taxpayers might have to subsidize a French company. Via Greece.

Fighting over taxpayer money.

France’s Fishy Denials as Mega-Banks Teeter

“We don’t have any doubt about the solidity of French banks,” said the French government—a week after the collapse of Dexia. All eyes are now on Société Générale and BNP Paribas. BNP is the world’s largest bank with assets of $2.8 trillion, dwarfing France’s $2.1 trillion economy. And they’re desperately trying to sell assets to stay afloat.

Euro Tidbit: The Lies of ‘Stress Tests’

Bailed-out Dexia, a major Belgian-French bank, is kaput again and will be broken up. Bondholders and counterparties will be bailed out. As usual, taxpayers will foot the bill. But remember the “stress tests” in July?

France Simmers In Its Own Juices, Germany Frets

“We’re not doing this for the Greeks, but for us,” said Angela Merkel amidst a cacophony of doomsday scenarios. It’s all about propping up German banks and exporters. For the French, however, the European debt crisis doesn’t seem to exist.