Mes, Antonio Patuelli at Senaldi: "Italy, defend yourself. Europe mistreats our banks"


"We must have the courage to remember it: Italian banks have been abused in Europe, not in general terms but by the EU Commission. I am one of the promoters of the appeal for the management of the Tercas case, the first crisis of one of our credit institute, from which all the subsequent ones were derived, including Ferrara and Etruria. The Competition Commissioner, Ms. Margrethe Vestager, opposed the rescue of the bank by the Interbank Deposit Protection Fund, judging it to be state aid, but on March 19, the Luxembourg-based EU Court upheld our appeal, claiming that the lady was wrong. I was very surprised when, in May, the Commission challenged the sentence and I trust that in the appeal the decision favorable to us will be confirmed, otherwise we should deduce that in Europe there are two weights and two measures, depending on the nationality of the credit institutions examined ».

Does it allude to the fact that just last week Europe, with Vestager confirmed in competition, did not find state aid the 3.6 billion allocated by two German Landers to avoid the failure of the Nord Landesbank bank?
«I do not enter into controversy. It is a fact, however, that Moody 's promoted Italian banks ".
Do you think the next crisis will come from Germany?
"I hope you don't get anywhere. As for rating agencies, they always come late. When Lehmann failed, they still considered her a safe bank. However, the German industrial slowdown is bad news for us, because our economy is interconnected with the German one in an important way.
If they go wrong, we can't do well. "
Is this why our banks were taxed in 2011 to save the German ones, imprudently too exposed to Greece?
"It was a European decision. Of course, the Italian Republic was very generous and this around Europe often does not want to remember it ".
Our institutions were exposed for 5% of Athens' debts but we corrected them on the 18th
"That great sacrifice has given us many problems, but the EU sees it as an episode, it does not give it the correct value, as I would instead wish."
But how are our institutions?
«I do not have data on individual supervisory flows. The value of the aggregate shows that the sector has made great progress. Then of course, there are those who are all right and those who go wrong ».

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Antonio Patuelli is a long-term defender of Italian credit. A Romagna fighter who was not afraid to report a couple of weeks ago on the dangers associated with the Save-State fund. He went so far as to threaten to stop buying government bonds, if the public debt had been penalized. "I was alarmed when I discovered that the Nordic States wanted the Mes to follow the assessment of the riskiness of the Member States' government bonds in assessing the soundness of the systems. It would have reduced the value of our institutions, forcing them to strong recapitalisations, and it would have been an automatic lever for the spread ". Today the president of the Abi is a little more calm, because the weighting of government bonds has not entered into the agreement, but above all for the changed scenario. "I did well to draw the line of the Piave," he said with satisfaction, "now Commissioner Gentiloni, whom I consider a fighter, must take the lead and defend it. He doesn't have to do like Mogherini, who has just left without anyone in Italy feeling the need to thank her for her mandate. "

President, in Europe have they tried once again to play a trick on us?
"Europe moves within a framework of great uncertainty. A Constitution is lacking which gives the principles and mandatory rules for the protection of all. And therefore each treaty becomes a single negotiation that can hide dangers, because every time we start from scratch in the game of mutual guarantees ».
What is the danger inherent in the Mes?
"The fact that the Mes is based on an intergovernmental agreement and does not originate in European legislation and therefore has a reduced role for the European Parliament".
So there is a democratic deficit, given that countries have the right to veto but they can also be put in the conditions of not being able to afford to express it?
"As long as there is no Constitution, a legal framework for treaties, Europe will always remain a place where the rule of the strongest also applies. Italy is not historically a bully country, in addition we have a huge public debt. The rules, the rule of law, convene us ".
Are you describing the EU negotiations as a discussion from Far West?
"In Europe today you have to defend yourself, and sometimes you can't make it. That's why I raised my voice ".
Did the four failed Italian banks, Etruria, Marche, Chieti and Ferrara, go to the air because Renzi's government failed to defend them?
"The European Union prevented the intervention of the interbank fund that would have saved them and this gave rise to a much wider crisis, which cost us much more and made the account be paid retroactively also to the small savers who had invested in subordinated bonds. In other circumstances and other countries this refusal did not start or would not have taken ".
But wouldn't the famous banking union, which came into operation in 2014, have to save the four banks?
"The banking union is only partially operational in its supervisory tasks. The decisions concerning EU guarantees on deposits, however, have never been implemented, because there are those who fear to pay our debts. There is a great contradiction: we have a single supervision but the national banking law regulations and the criminal laws that regulate finance have remained different. But if an operation is prohibited in one state and allowed in another, the money moves to the most attractive country, leaving the most rigorous in poverty. Without a legal homogenization that protects everyone in the same way there will never be a true Europe ".
How true is it that the Germans point to the savings of the Italians, who individually are richer than they, to force us to heal our public debt and their bank debts with a maxi-asset?
"We Italians are culturally firm in the Roman era, we delude ourselves that we are still the center of the world. But others see us for what we really are, a long southern offshoot of Europe, which has its center on the Rhine, between France and Germany, and which is now changing geography with the enlargement to the east ".
"So we have to start thinking about getting ourselves out of trouble on our own. The public debt has been rising steadily for 52 years, whoever governs, and this despite the euro guarantees low interest rates. We absolutely must stop the increase, because it prevents the investments we would need and is the real brake on growth and recovery. In a phase of stagnation like the current one, public investments are one of the main levers of the economy ".
Politics blame if the debt runs?
"It pursues consensus and does not take important structural decisions, forgetting that in order not to lose the votes won, we must not think only of the most imminent election deadline, otherwise growth is volatile. We already have many examples of this. Equally harmful is that politics tears off in reciprocal delegitimization rather than favoring a climate of trust in the country ».
But there would be money in Italy. We have 1,700 billion on current accounts: why?
«They are all money ready to be invested. At one time, private individuals would have used them to buy Bot, but given that today government bonds make almost nothing, people prefer to remain liquid and not even run the slightest risks. All remain wary because there is no certainty about the political, regulatory or judicial future ».
Why haven't we emerged from the crisis after more than ten years?
"Because Europe has not had a united reaction and a Marshall plan has not arrived from outside, given that the crisis, coming from the US, has led America to close in on itself, an attitude that has lasted even after it is Exit. Trump is today taking him to extremes, but he didn't start it ".

by Pietro Senaldi

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