Brussels | Wednesday, 24 August 2011, 9 30 GMT
This evening in Brussels, Chancellor Angela Merkel & President Nicolas Sarkozy announced plans to resolve the eurozone crisis which has dogged markets for nearly two years. In a bold move Germany and France announced that they would purchase Greece, Portugal and Ireland. It is thought that the sums are likely to be in the order of €1 for each country.
|Chancellor Merkel & Presisent Sarkozy at a press conference in Brussels this evening|
"We believe this will draw a line under the instability that has shaken the Euro and will put the European continent back on the footing it needs to grow and create prosperity" said Chancellor Merkel in a pre-prepared statement.
President Sarkozy said he was delighted that Germany and France had come up with a plan that finally made sense. In an off the cuff conversation with a French journalist, President Sarkozy is quoted as saying: "Angela and I were banging our head off the wall. What are we going to do? Greece is a blackhole. The more money you put into the place the the worse it gets. The only thing they seem to be good at in that country is burning things down. As Angela says 'you can't export that'. We all knew the approached lacked sense. Then suddenly an adviser from the European Commission suggested that perhaps it would be easier simply to the buy the countries rather than lending them more money. At least in that scenario you might have some upside. We all looked at each other and then we broke out the champagne and foie gras."
Pierre De Roquefort, a seasoned European Commission legislator, is credited with the move: "I actually had a hand in drafting the Lisbon Treaty. Even I did not spend the time reading the whole thing. Luckily someone mentioned they had dropped the best part of a procedure into the amended treaties providing that if there was a national insolvency one of the other members could offer monetary assistance in return for the assumption of the nation's sovereignty. This suddenly came to me in the meeting with the Chancellor and Sarkozy ..."
The reception of the news has been mixed in Greece, Portugal and Ireland. "I suppose deep down we all knew this day was coming" said Prime Minister Enda Kenny in Dublin. "I suppose we really just ran out of road. I know whenever there is a takeover there tends to be redundancies. I just hope the new management work with us to preserve as many jobs as possible."
No one was available for comment in Athens. It is understood that the majority of the population are busy removing anything that is not nailed down before the handover.
Rick Engels, M&A Director at Goldman Sachs in London, indicated that this presented an opportunity for Spain and Italy. "Everyone knows Ireland, Portugal and Greece are insolvent and that is why they fetched the price they did. I think with Italy and Spain there is an opportunity for them to spruce themselves up for a sale. I think we could definitely spin off some non core functions and make their accounting look a bit better. If we could get China interested, we might have an auction. Italy and Spain, could go for big money."
Chancellor Merkel when asked what the new merged entity would look like said: "France and Germany, we have not always seen eye to eye and even when we have seen eye to eye, we were looking through the wrong set of eyes. This, however, we agree on as being the only sensible solution. Peripheral Europe cannot operate effectively in today's markets. We can teach them how to work and France can go back to being effective at being rude to tourists."
When asked if there would be any big changes in the offing, Chancellor Merkel responded "Well I think we always knew the EU flag had something missing at the centre between those stars. I have talked to President Sarkozy and I think they are quite happy to put an eagle in there."