Target 2: risk for Luxembourg?
During the previous legislative period, ADR has had concerns about the TARGET2 system. After demanding and have partly received explanations from the then director of the Central Bank of Luxembourg, ADR had once more to assert that the Parliament (Chambre des Députés) doesn’t really have a say despite the importance of this issue.
Although there is little debate about TARGET2 system (Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross settlement Express Transfer system), it’s a European payment system that was launched 7 years ago and that, given the financial crisis, now raises many questions. The operation mode is as follows: When a national central bank pays some amount of money to another, the European Central Bank (ECB) acts as a clearing house: on the one hand, there’s a national central bank with a negative balance; on the other, there’s another national central bank with a positive balance.
At the beginning of the year, the Central Bank of Luxembourg had, under the TARGET2 system, a positive balance of 105.5 billion euros! The question is: What is the probability that this so-called debt will ever be honored and that Luxembourg will one day retrieve what is owed? Countries particularly affected by the financial crisis (Greece, Italy, Ireland and Portugal) are the principal debtors. What would be the consequences of a collapse of the euro zone and what guarantees covering losses does Luxembourg have?
ADR is also noted that the positive balance is eight times the annual national budget. In recent years, the amount has been rising and rising: from 67.9 billion euros in 2010 to 105.5 billion euros in 2014. If theCentral Bank of Luxembourg’s positive balance is divided by half a million people, we get a total of 210 000 euros per person! Although Germany is the country with the highest positive balance (500.3 billion euros), the amount per capita is only 6250 euros!
ADR supports European Central Bank’s independence, but regrets that the Parliament is not better informed when it comes to take such risks for our country. National parliaments have lost authority because of the rescue of the euro. More transparency and democratic accountability would be more than welcome!