7 october 2012, are we there yet ?

Sitting here in the uk, the euro (or "euro crisis" as it is now known) seems further away every day, rather remote, talked out and embarrassing; a bit like the troubles in northern ireland used to be, or the intifada when I lived in tel aviv. We seem past the period when sane and senior people were assuring me it would all be over in weeks, and they're now watching the neighbour's dodgy extension still going up, despite those suspect foundations and the council supposedly coming round and telling them to knock it down and start again. Despite the odds though, the summer has passed largely without incident. If anything, it was good news, with tentative progress on the banking union, a startling election result in holland, and critical concrete of the new shoring-up order flowing when the german constitutional court finally enabled the european stability mechanism treaty - yes, it's a treaty (see 1 june 2012) - to be ratified by all (repeat, all). As opposed to the efsf, which is limited in time and capacity, the esm is a permanent institution, and a real pillar of the putative euro area ministry of finance that critics so bemoan is lacking. A reverse domino effect then kicked in, as with esm in place, and a treaty laying down the law on how it can be accessed, the ecb was then able to put real funding behind a lender of last resort role, addressing the weakest link of stressed member state bonds, provided that robust framework was utilised (i.e. a member state applied for a "bail out"). Super mario really is doing "whatever it takes", and if spain, and indeed any future others, want the benefit of that, they now know they just have to ask. This is not to say things are sailing serenely on, but the repeated refusal to sink, and the putting of the ecb's infinite balance sheet behind the currency, within a robust and agreed fiscal framework, gives a fair wind for the next choppy period, as no doubt spain (which really shouldn't) and greece (with it's still intractable problems not solved) will again be in the headlines; but have confidence (faith even) that calm blue waters will, one day, reappear.