Euro Stability Mechanism proposes transfer of Greek assets to Luxembourg

LuxembourgThe European Commission has been forced to rebuff a proposal by the Eurozone’s new bailout fund, the ESM, that Greek assets be transferred to a new Luxembourg-based special purpose vehicle as a part of a wider privatisation scheme.

The proposal, mooted by Finland in 2011, and on the radar of the IMF, was aimed at cutting through “Greek bureaucracy” by reversing €28 billion of national assets into a warehouse company based in Luxembourg, managed by non-Greek experts appointed by the ESM and IMF, and which would issue securities to international investors (subject itself to the lower tax rates Luxembourg is so proud to offer).

Greek newspaper Ekathimerini reports an ESM official as saying:1

The main point is to maximise the value of state-owned real estate assets in Greece by making them more attractive for investors.  […] The benefit of privatisation is to generate resources for Greece to help overall development and pay back its own debt faster.

The news comes as the Spanish media remains silent about the reports in France’s Le Monde that the Rajoy government is considering selling off “one quarter of its national heritage”, or about 15,000 properties.2

Meanwhile, the financial crisis continues to affect Ireland, where the latest population figures show that every six minutes one Irish person emigrates, a third of this number being 15–24 years old.

All this comes as Wolfgang Munchau, former frontman for the now defunct Financial Times Deutschland, who now writes for Die Spiegel, concludes3 an analysis of the economic policies of the German political parties before this September’s national elections with the view that Germany’s Left Party (Die Linke) has had the most correct and consistent view of the reasons for and solutions of the financial crisis in the Eurozone.

In short, they have always maintained that it is due to imbalances of capital flows, and not to do with overindebtedness or “bloated welfare states” or similar nonsense. Munchau argues that Die Linke should feature in a government led by the SPD (centre left) and the Greens (allegedly centre left, actually somewhere right of Merkel).

Ida Ince is an independent researcher in critical legal finance

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