Anna Gelpern’s post on the Roubini blog (that I posted on earlier) had an interesting point I wanted to follow up.   She remarks in passing, “apropos commitment, isn’t it interesting that the European Commission will issue collateralized debt (secured by its €141bn budget)?”  Indeed, and even more interesting that the bulk of the bailout fund will come via a vast intergovernmental SPV.  If you follow her link, it takes you to a Financial Times article discussing the legal-financial structure of the EU bailout, which describes the bailout fund:

The so-called European stabilisation mechanism will consist of two parts with separate legal bases.

The €60bn extension of the EU’s existing balance of payments facility – used to help Hungary, Latvia and Romania – to members of the eurozone will be based on Article 122.2 of the EU treaty which allows for support for governments during “exceptional circumstances”. It thus circumvents the eurozone’s no-bailout principle.

The €440bn loan guarantee mechanism will be organised on an intergovernmental basis between the 16 eurozone member states.

Why the intergovernmental structure for the overwhelming bulk of it?  For political and legal reasons – first, to deal with German constitutional legal concerns and, second, to deal with British political concerns that it could be dragged into indirect liability if the fund were handled through Brussels institutions.  The governments will provide credit guarantees; the intergovernmental SPV will use the guarantees to raise money on the capital markets.  The 60 bn euro piece from the EU directly will come in the form of debt collateralized by the EU’s own budget.

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