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Do These Scales Make Europe's Rear Look Fat?

Americans moaning about our endless debt debates should look over the ocean; compared to the EU, the US is a model of efficient transparency.

The latest round of European bank stress tests — set up because the first round was so obviously a shady PR exercise intended to make bad banks look good — has flopped.  Once again, Europe couldn’t bear to face the real facts.

Over the weekend, exams administered to the continent’s troubled banking sector seemed to produce some good news.  Banks in Spain and Italy — the 3rd and 4th largest European economies and the latest targets of default speculation — were the top performers, prompting predictions that new short-term funding to help these countries weather the latest storm would be forthcoming.

No such luck. Instead, investors dumped Spanish and Italian bank stocks and the government bond yields in those two countries surged higher. The stress tests, it turns out, were less than serious, and those same investors they were designed to comfort had concluded that the tests were meaningless before they were even administered.

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  • Eurydice

    Much as the ladies of Vienna believed a vigorous massage could counter the effects of too much “schlag,” this kind of optimism was built into the criteria for entry into the EU. At the time it was suspected that even Germany’s numbers couldn’t meet the EU standards – but, a push here and a squeeze there and, suddenly, everybody’s looking trim and fit.

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