It is not populists holding up EU financial integration

Forget the anti-EU politicians preparing to make gains in the upcoming European Parliament elections. Just as in the eurozone crisis, it is the incumbents holding up reform in the bloc.

  • By Jasper Cox
  • 28 Mar 2019
Email a colleague
Request a PDF

One of the arguments made in favour of Brexit was that the EU was locked on a federalist course, hurtling towards becoming a super-state. 

If only that was the case.

Another — contradictory — pro-Brexit argument is that the nationalists are about to collapse the EU from within. But who needs them when Europe’s establishment can do the job for you?

Regardless, the strength of anti-EU forces is overstated, for the time being at least. The “establishment”, pro-EU groupings of conservatives, socialists and liberals will win 58% of seats in the parliamentary elections, according to — absent UK members staying put. Not all the other parties are Eurosceptic, either.

But being pro-EU does not mean being pro-reform. The most influential party in Europe, Angela Merkel’s CDU, released its programme for the elections this week, in conjunction with the CSU, its Bavarian sister party.

“No” to an EU finance minister. “No” to debt pooling. “No” to risk sharing. “No” to unemployment insurance. Is that a clear direction of travel? 

Interestingly, deposit insurance was not mentioned — but after little progress on that in the past few years, no-one should expect too much going forwards.

All of these propositions have positives and negatives. The problem may not be Germany’s opposition in itself, as much as the low chance of any other conceivable reforms to cover the holes in Europe’s financial defences.

Morgan Stanley analysts said last month investors should put all eurozone fixed income assets in one portfolio because they are all vulnerable in tandem to a systemic crisis.

They put much of the blame on a failure of reform. It is not the barbarians at parliament’s gate to fear, but those already inside.

  • By Jasper Cox
  • 28 Mar 2019

All International Bonds

Rank Lead Manager Amount $b No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 JPMorgan 367.06 1693 8.40%
2 Citi 336.12 1431 7.69%
3 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 287.31 1247 6.57%
4 Barclays 257.43 1085 5.89%
5 HSBC 214.63 1184 4.91%

Bookrunners of All Syndicated Loans EMEA

Rank Lead Manager Amount $b No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 BNP Paribas 40.95 193 7.04%
2 Credit Agricole CIB 38.30 162 6.59%
3 JPMorgan 31.28 85 5.38%
4 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 26.65 82 4.58%
5 UniCredit 26.55 144 4.56%

Bookrunners of all EMEA ECM Issuance

Rank Lead Manager Amount $b No of issues Share %
  • Last updated
  • Today
1 JPMorgan 11.53 77 9.60%
2 Morgan Stanley 11.15 54 9.28%
3 Goldman Sachs 10.04 53 8.36%
4 Citi 8.06 63 6.71%
5 Bank of America Merrill Lynch 5.64 31 4.69%