The exception has become the rule: the European rescue fund ESM is now joined at the hip to the European Monetary Union. Setting it up to get eurozone countries that cannot or do not want to play by the rules of the common currency out of their own messes, the Euro-rescuers have defied not only the promise of the founding fathers, but also the ban on bail-outs enshrined in the EU treaties. That shifts the power structure and the dynamics of the monetary union, probably not for the better.

For the young currency has now been taken up as the most important bargaining chip for cohesion: the credible threat that countries that fail to stick with fiscal discipline and fail to ensure that their economy is competitive will have to take responsibility for these shortcomings themselves. "Solidarity" is the new slogan. The joint liability is organised and institutionalised through the ESM, which can call on at least 500 billion euros in cheap loans. Even more can be leveraged off the funds.

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