BERLIN, Sept 3 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Germany’s second-biggest lender, Commerzbank, wrote in a German newspaper on Wednesday that euro zone states should start issuing common bonds if they are serious about making the euro a globally strong currency.
“The introduction of such European sovereign bonds would permanently establish the euro as a globally important currency, thereby ensuring the sustained importance and competitiveness of Europe,” Martin Blessing wrote in business daily Handelsblatt.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposes common bond issuance by euro zone states, saying joint liability would first require much higher levels of political and economic union in Europe.
But Blessing said the European Central Bank’s (ECB) response to the euro zone debt crisis, and the bonds issued by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) bailout scheme, meant common liability was ”already a reality: and that “euro bonds have already been introduced virtually by the back door”.
As well as being attractive for investors, Blessing said, a legally-binding framework for such instruments would have the advantage of giving member states “strong incentives for fiscal discipline”.
The German state has a 17 percent stake in Commerzbank, which was one of the highest-profile casualties of the global financial crisis. The German government spent about 18 billion euros bailout out the bank. (Reporting by Stephen Brown; Editing by Madeline Chambers)