Europe’s Savings—an Engine for Growth
Are your savings safe? If you live in Europe, beware—the European Union is eyeing them. It wants you to put them to use and is creating a new market for them. This could be profitable for the EU and investors, though savers refusing to invest could be punished. The elites of the organization see Europe’s large savings as a heretofore untapped tool for economic growth. On March 9, the European Central Bank (ecb) published an article titled “Channeling Europe’s Savings Into Growth.” In an April 11 interview, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner echoed the call and predicted a radical transformation of Europe’s economy.
The ecb’s article advocates something the EU terms the “Capital Markets Union” (cmu) and notes, “Europeans save much more than Americans.” Savings are capital. Capital could be used for growth. But right now, many of these savings are not being used; instead, they are spread over a vast network of banks. Businesses throughout Europe go mostly to banks to receive funding—but they are often rejected. The cmu could provide them new options.
The EU wants to increase opportunities for investors, but eventually it also wants to increase the number of investors. This will make it an even more powerful economy.
The changes the article suggests are important; just notice the names on the byline: “Paschal Donohoe (president of the Eurogroup), Werner Hoyer (president of the European Investment Bank), Christine Lagarde (president of the European Central Bank), Charles Michel (president of the European Council) and Ursula von der Leyen (president of the European Commission).”
These five presidents state: “The European Union is determined to fast-forward its green and digital transition. … The financing needs are huge, and the lion’s share will need to come from private capital. The role of public investment is to give policy direction and to incentivize massive crowding-in of private capital, including through, but not limited to, the involvement of the European Investment Bank Group and national promotional banks.”
In other words, the ecb wants to incentivize investment. This is an opportunity for Europe as a whole and for individuals (unless the incentivizing becomes unwanted pressure). Lindner calls this an utmost necessary step to take. In an interview with KfW, a German state-owned investment and development bank, he said:
Today we know that we need to fundamentally change the way we live and operate. The challenges are enormous: digitalization, decarbonization, demographic change. If we want to preserve what has been achieved in seven decades of the Federal Republic, we need to transform. To cope with this transformation, we will have to spend trillions of euros over the next several years and decades. This cannot be mobilized by the state alone. That is why we need private investors and framework conditions that make investment in new technologies and sustainable development attractive.
The ecb explained that European start-ups and scale-ups have less capital than those in the United States, Japan, China and the United Kingdom—while Europe has more savings. “We need a Capital Markets Union that channels Europe’s vast savings into tomorrow’s engines of growth,” they wrote. “We must overcome the current patchwork of national frameworks, and in some cases underdeveloped capital markets, to unlock their full potential. This will strengthen the EU as an investment destination and make the euro an even more attractive currency.”
Small businesses in Eastern Europe have trouble getting the finances they need. Yet there may be a surplus of financing in Western Europe that they could tap into. The growing market in Eastern Europe also could be lucrative investment for West Europeans. Thus the cmu promises to be a win-win situation. But right now, it is still difficult for investors to cross borders; some of these regulations have to be lifted. The cmu promises to open the markets—not only for Europeans but also for foreign investors.
Part of the cmu’s plan is to complete the existing banking union to support the EU’s economic growth and competitiveness—that means opening the market for more financing. If successful, the cmu promises broader opportunities for both banks and private investors. Banks will continue to play an important role, and even increase their potential, but they will be supplemented by private investors. Every bank uses deposits to invest, but they are also required to keep a certain percentage of those deposits as cash reserves to meet customer withdrawal demands. Furthermore, their investment potential is limited by the amount of capital they have and the risks they want to take—that’s why they have to reject small risky businesses. In the cmu, these small businesses could get their funding more easily from the private sector.
But the win-win situation also has small print writing. The EU wants to maximize the use of savings—if you look at some other trends, this could include the savings of those who naturally fear investments.
Take, for example, the EU’s plans to incorporate a digital euro. No matter what they are promising, this introduction has the potential to bar you from withdrawing your savings. This means your money will stay in the system and be used by banks. But again, banks are limited and the government may want to discourage savings altogether and lure you into more risky investments. With a digital currency, it may become impossible to escape measures to discourage saving, such as negative interests rates, which have been deployed before to encourage investment. (Read “Welcome to the Weird and Not-So-Wonderful World of Negative Interest” and “Negative Interest Rates in Europe Are Only a Sign of Worse to Come.”) If you don’t use your savings in the economy, you will lose them over time—so you might as well invest them to make a profit—right? For the EU economy that would be excellent news.
The EU would rise to become a hub for investing and attract more and more foreign investors as well. The big incentive to make these goals reality may also be around the corner.
This ecb’s article was published just a day before the Silicon Valley Bank collapsed in the United States. The late Herbert W. Armstrong warned that a banking crisis in the U.S. could trigger the unification of Europe. This unification is prophesied in Revelation 17. The plans for this unification already exist—but right now governments and individuals are hesitant. Watch these events carefully; one way or another, Europe will unite and rise suddenly to become a superpower. The unused savings of Europeans could be a means to this very end.
Our world is concerned about the future of our banking system—and rightly so. But you can have great hope in the midst of growing uncertainty. To understand more, read “The Only Solution to Our Financial Crises,” by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry.