News Brendan Keenan

Tuesday 24 January 2017

We must decide on shape of new union

Published 03/02/2013 | 17:52

BREAKING the link between banks and sovereigns. That is what we were promised, or thought we were promised, back in June. But which links, and which sovereigns?

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My normal dislike of jargon mellows at the word "sovereign", although jargon it undoubtedly is. There is a certain ring to it, although one fears that many people, listening to pundits jabbering away about "the sovereign", are not clear what they are talking about.

It just means "governments" of course, and the jargon was to distinguish between their borrowings and that of ordinary institutions. But it has another, darker meaning for lenders to governments; that a sovereign country does not have to pay its debts and, unlike lesser entities, you cannot go in and seize its goods and chattels.

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