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Deepening EU Banking Crisis Meets Euro-TARP, Taxpayers

... the European banking sector may face even higher bad loan risks if the ECB begins to scale back its monetary stimulus programs, something it has already begun, albeit extremely tentatively. The total stock of non-performing loans (NPL) in the EU is estimated at over €1 trillion, or 5.4% of total loans, a ratio three times higher than in other major regions of the world.... someone else must step in, and soon. And that someone is almost certain to be the European taxpayer. In February ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio called for the creation of a whole new class of government-backed "bad banks" to help buy some of the €1 trillion of bad loans putrefying on bank balance sheets. Constancio's idea bore a striking resemblance to a formal proposal put forward by the European Banking Authority (EBA) for the creation of a massive EU-wide bad bank that, in the words of EBA president Andrea Enria, would "make it much easier to achieve critical mass and to create a well functioning market for (impaired) assets."

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