Cyprus bailout perhaps a hat-trick
Guy Rundle writes: Re. "Cyprus bailout far from elegant" (yesterday) Niall Clugston asks whether I see the Cyprus bailout as "elegant", because this appeared in the headline to my piece -- which as he well knows, authors do not write. The full phrase I used was "elegant double-whammy", quite a different thing. I suggested that the "bailout" -- it is barely that -- served the dual purpose of cracking down on eurozone tax havens and hitting at Russian financial colonisation of outlying EU areas (which, occurred of course, with the connivance of the Cypriot financial elite). It's obvious that the EU/German centre decided Cyprus was small enough for them to take really punitive measures, to use the country as an example to all those who put north European banking systems at risk by bad financial management (in the case of Greece) or shonky local banking (Cyprus). So yes, in realpolitik terms, that's elegant -- rather than the inept stuff-up that most financial commentators, caught up in the usual groupthink, insisted it was. The stuff-up came when that Dutch EU official announced that it was a template for future bailouts. It is, but you can't say that out loud. The third purpose of the effort was German domestic politics -- if southern Europeans are screaming in pain and calling Angela Merkel a Nazi, German voters feel they aren't being ripped off. So a hat-trick perhaps.