Saturday, 23 July 2011

€ rescue: Even Germany has benefited from debt-section

by Márcio Cabral de Moura

The rescue of the Euro-crisis countries is controversial. Here, the generosity of the creditors of the Federal Republic has also helped the rise.
It was not a beautiful future, which predicted the Federal Minister of Finance to the banker, who was trying on behalf of the young Federal Republic, making seven years after the war Germany back to international borrowing capacity. Urgent need for the Federal Republic of external loans needed for reconstruction. But they were excluded: nearly two decades – since the takeover of the National Socialists in 1933 – Germany had most of its debts to foreign countries not served properly.
Now, in 1952, should the internationally experienced banker Hermann Josef Abs, a key figure in the German economy, as represented by some of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer at a conference in London with creditors, how much money the Germans who had to pay back within a certain time. It was a hot topic, both foreign and domestic policy. Only half-jokingly predicted Finance Minister Fritz Schäffer the negotiators: “Abs, if you do it poorly, you will be hanging from a pear tree, if you do it well, in a plum tree.”
It was almost 30 billion marks from foreign debt before the war and the reconstruction of the Allies since 1945. That was much or little, depending on your perspective: given a federal budget of almost 24 billion marks in 1952 it was not chicken. On the other hand, 30 billion dollars in 1952 corresponded to even less than a quarter of annual economic output. In Greece, which currently would probably not mind a waiver, corresponds to the national debt of nearly € 345 billion 153 percent of annual economic output.
deficit and debt ratio
The current debt ratio of the countries within the euro area …

deficit as a percentage of GDP: 4.1 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 96.8                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 3.3 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 83.2                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 0.1 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 6.6                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 2.5 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 48.4                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 7 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 81.7                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 10.5 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 142.8                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 32.4 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 96.2                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 4.6 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 119                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 1.7 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 18.4                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 3.6 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 68                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 4.6 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 72.3               
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 9.1 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 93                

deficit as a percentage of GDP: 7.9 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 41                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 5.6 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 38                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 9.2 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 60.1                
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 5.3 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 60.8 
Euro area as a whole
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 6 
government debt as a percentage of GDP: 85.1                
Eu as a whole
deficit as a percentage of GDP: 6.4 80                

Source: Eurostat, Release 26 April 2011

While the Greek government a large portion of their debts with their banks, insurance companies and pension funds and it has – because of the peg to the euro – will not let go easily to the young Federal Republic managed much of their debt in 1948 with the currency reform from the neck: the debt of the state against domestic creditors were quickly removed to a large extent. Also, it came to foreign countries, stayed in London many debts and claims against the outside that could have been against Germany after his criminal war can bring.
Above all, included the foreign ministers of the United States, Britain and France from as early as September 1950 that other countries or citizens could ask for reparations from the war to the Federal Republic. First, the official view, must end the division of Germany and a peace agreement be concluded, which could serve as a basis for claims. This reservation, which rejected the Federal Republic for decades, claims of millions of forced laborers, was enshrined in the London Debt Agreement. The Allies were able to allow that more likely than they had decided for themselves at war in France, Great Britain or the United States confiscated German assets – to keep and use – from factories to patents.
             result   Answer 1:  48% /> Yes to show the country again – –>                                                                        
                        Is to make Greece a debt cut?

Answer 2: 52% /> No, the domino effect would be a danger for Europe 
 23 votes cast                        
Of the nearly 30 billion dollars, which is the issue since the summer of 1951 in London, first accounted for, just over half of rehabilitation services in England and especially the U.S., for example under the Marshall Plan. The other half were scarce debt Prussia and the Weimar Republic: about three large foreign loans – Dawes, Young and Kreuger bond – from the years 1924 to 1930, debt of German cities or the railroad, corporate bonds, bank debt. And some 300,000 outstanding individual debt ratios over 1.2 billion dollars: unpaid bills such as trade, unpaid pensions, insurance companies and dividends.
The negotiations at times representative of 40 countries sent to London. At Lancaster House, a palace of the government, which was led by Abs, 30 heads strong German delegation has some 240 foreign representatives. The key to the success or failure of the U.S. held in his hand: they had paid the lion’s share of the German reconstruction.
The Americans were ready to adopt the German debt. First they wanted, unlike the victorious powers of World War II at the Versailles peace negotiations, that Germany was quickly on his feet. Second, the (West) Germans in the early 50′s were again allies in the Cold War and should stick to the will of Washington’s least ten billion dollars in building a new army. Demanded the U.S. compensation or even the full repayment of foreign debt, this is the safest way, the Germans the Russians into the arms, said about Alexander Wiley, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Washington Senate.
As the historian Ursula Rombeck-Jaschinski described, agreed Americans and British at the beginning of November 1951 outside day be until the end of February 1952 conference that London would not insist on 40 percent of its development funds to Washington almost two-thirds. The U.S. renunciation of two billion dollars equivalent to 8.4 billion marks. The remaining 1.2 billion U.S. dollars could pay back the Germans in 1958 within 30 years, an interest rate of just 2.5 percent. Furthermore, the Allies would dispense with the pre-war bonds to to calculate the repayment value based on the gold price, and instead take the dollar as the reference point. This was a debt reduction of 40 percent. These concessions were Americans and British first secret.
Also for the Germans it was not just about money but about politics. For Chancellor Konrad Adenauer told “the restoration of creditworthiness” not only the purely financial, which is the issue in London, but also the moral and political. Largely because of the Holocaust go there, so Adenauer to the “responsibility of a people and a country, shame and honor claims of victims and the government’s commitment to the symbolic re-enactment of the moral law.”
During the preliminary hearings officer Abs in London already led Adenauer also met in London Nahum Goldmann, chairman of the World Jewish Congress. Israel and the Jewish Claims Conference called for 1.5 billion U.S. dollars by the Germans. While the GDR did not even replied, Adenauer assured in writing that he was willing to negotiate. His ministers and said the chancellor this paragraph until months later. End of August 1952 was the agreement. Bonn committed itself to pay Israel to 1965 three billion marks to 500 million marks to the Jewish Claims Conference and other persecuted people.
   This agreement amends
Adenauer brought moral advantages, but the creditors confirmed that the Germans could pay much more than their negotiators argued, para. Then there was that the Federal Republic in foreign trade became the creditors: in 1952 Germany came to an trade Plus. In addition, the Adenauer government campaigned at home with the upturn in itself – hardly anything suitable to make a payment to creditors believe weak country.
And so thought the Allies had no intention to return the confiscated German assets abroad or to be offset against the debt. Nor is it accepted a proposal to delete from the three pre-war bonds, half of the nominal value and to waive interest. Britain’s Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, Adenauer made it clear that he needed much stoking. Ultimately, the Germans had tripled its initial offer.
As par the London Agreement on 27 February 1953 signed, it was clear that the Germans would pay the debt service for 576 million marks a year had, from 750 million marks in 1958. But as pre-war claims, Adenauer was in April 1953 accounted for in the Bundestag, had been reduced to about half. The now 14 billion corresponded payable Mark only one-tenth of an annual economic output.
This paved the way for new foreign loans was free. The repayment of old debts in the ongoing economic miracle was not for the federal government nor the company is a problem: Many pre-war bank debt (“debt standstill”) were recovered late in 1954 largely at the end of 1960 was one third of all pre-war debts paid. With a final payment to the Americans in 1988 seemed the last chapter of the London Debt Agreement written. After reunification, a postscript was written: Now Bond interest of the postwar period were paid, which had been part of the Agreement until returned to a reunion. Only the 3rd October 2010 was the last payment. This was only a historical side note.
The contemporaries of the London Agreement could not know that the economic miracle be stormy and could last as long. Newspapers such as “World” and “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung criticized the agreement so as a” victory of the foreign creditors “, the Düsseldorf” courier industry “barmte given the” tremendous commitment we have made in London “.
Even skeptics admitted, however, that negotiators Abs had probably brought out the best. The banker landed the plum therefore not yet at the pear tree. But was given by Federal President Theodor Heuss still 1953, the Federal Cross of Merit with Star.

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