ESM, a coup d’état in 17 countries!

by Rudo de Ruijter
17 October 2011

Preliminary message to Parliamentarians.

What is special in this ESM-treaty? The Ministers of Finance get a new part-time function as Governors of the ESM. The national parliaments have no authority over their Minister of Finance, when the latter acts as Governors of the ESM. The Governors freely dispose of the State’s Vaults. No veto-right has been foreseen for the national parliaments. Ratifying this treaty is the death of the sovereign democracies of the eurozone.

(And if you are not a Parliamentarian, make sure your Parliamentarians get this message, for otherwise they will give the key of democracy to the devil without even being aware of it!)

As indicated in the precedent article “ESM, the new European dictator” , the Ministers of Finance of the 17 euro-countries, on July 11th 2011, have signed a Treaty for the Establishment of the European Stability Mechanism. Its purpose it to make the citizens pay for the hundreds of billions of euros that are pumped into the rescue funds to save the euro and to get the national parliaments in a strangle hold.

The signature was not noticed by the international press. Many journalists still confuse this new ESM-treaty with its (illegal) predecessors, the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). De EFSF now has a lending capacity of 440 billion euros. (1.000 billion since 27 October 2011.) The ESM is without limit.

At the moment of writing this treaty still has to be ratified by the national parliaments in all 17 countries, except if such has already taken place silently here and there.

For a short introduction in the ESM-treaty you can view this 3.5 minutes video on YouTube:

ESM, a coup d’état in 17 countries!

If by coup d’état we understand a seizure of the real power and a limitation of the power of the democratically chosen parliament, then this ESM-treaty is a coup d’état in 17 countries simultaneously.

This is completely in line with the philosophy of the European Commission, which, according to its President Barroso, must be “the economic government of the Union, that defines the actions that governments have to execute.” (28 Spetember 2011) [1]

The european Stability Mechanism (ESM) is not that much a mechanism, but rather a new administration of the European Union (EU). The reported goal is to supply loans (under strict conditions) to euro-countries, which cannot fulfil their financial obligations. It takes over the tasks of the aforementioned EFSF and EFSM. It is ruled by a Board of Governors. These are the 17 Ministers of Finance of the euro-countries within the EU.

The ESM treaty says in article 8, that this administration gets a social capital of 700 billion euros. Then, in article 10 it says that the Board of Governors may decide to change this amount and adapt article 8 accordingly. In article 9 it says the Board of Governors may claim unpaid social capital from the member countries at all times (to be paid within 7 days.) So in fact it says the ESM can claim money without limits from the member countries. The treaty does not foresee any right of veto for the national parliaments.


According to article 5.6 the Board of Governors must take the decisions above unanimously. So the entire board must vote “yes”.

At first glance, it is very curious that the whole treaty stands or falls with the unanimity of the 17 Ministers of Finance of the euro-countries. When you see how many difficulties they have to overcome for an agreement to be reached over freeing up the loans already promised to Greece, you would not expect that the EU would build a treaty that starts from the view that this unanimity does exist or at least can be achieved.

The eurozone is a colourful reflexion of the diversity of Europe: the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany and France and also Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Malta, Greece, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and finally Estonia and Finland. The 17 Ministers form, in fact, a colourful company too. Each of them represents a country with different interests. And they expect unanimity from them? How is that possible?

To understand, we must look a bit further. It is true, in the ESM the 17 ministers vote on all important decisions, but there are still other people who are present at their meetings, officially as “observers”. Wy would these ministers need observers? To check if they do what they are expected to do?

There are three observers:
the member of the European Commission in charge of economic and monetary affairs,
the President of the Euro Group (the informal club of the 17 Ministers of Finance)
the President of the European Central Bank! [2]

So, if we can’t expect these 17 Ministers of Finance to be unanimous spontaneously, it must be the influence of these observers that achieves it. To understand which influence the European Commission and the ECB can exercise on our ministers, let’s take a closer look.

Who are Ministers of Finance?

Well, generally, these are people who come and go. Most of the time they are appointed after the national parlementarian elections, that are initially followed by the bargaining of the coalition discussions and then by the tugging for filling in the most important portfolios, like the Interior Ministry, Economic Affairs and Finance. In the favorable case they have the capacities to lead a ministry. Such a person can lead the Ministry of Defense at one time and be appointed Minister of Education or Social Affairs some other time. Knowledge of matters is considered to be less relevant as managing capacities.

Economy is not Finance

This way, at the moment, we have in the Netherlands a Minister of Finance, Jan Kees de Jager, loaded to the brim with Economic diplomas, but who initially did not show he had any understanding of finance. One of his first ideas was to propose a law that should forbid people to call for a run on the bank. Jan Kees, banks have no money! For each euro the customers of ING (the biggest Dutch bank) have in their account, the bank only has 3 cents. You don’t expect people to line up for so little? And furthermore, as long as the central bank does not want a bank to fall, the latter can easily survive a run on the bank with borrowed money.

Freshly appointed Ministers of Finance are, generally, extremely happy they have so much success in their career, but they arrive in a world they hardly know or don’t know at all. That is the self-inportant little world of international financial institutions and the world of figures with an endless number of zeros. A little moment of inattention and you are mistaken by douzens of billions. (That happened to Dutch Prime Minister Rutte and Jan Kees de Jager when they informed Parliament after a European meeting about Greece. [3] ) These new ministers are an easy prey for the counsellors of the ECB and the IMF, who come to explain how things work and what a good Minister of Finance ought to do.

As far as these Ministers of Finance have a basic knowledge in economics, they should know that the whole euro-experiment is deemed to fail. That was already known at the start in 1970, but bankers and opinionated politicians pushed the shared currency forward. The point is that a unique currency can only work in a economically homogeneous area. [4] [5] [6] Here is why.

The prison of the fixed exchange rates

When consumers, in countries with less possibilities for productivity, prefer cheaper and better products from abroad, the external debt will increase. At the same time the internal productivity decreases. A country that has its own currency, can devaluate its currency then. That makes imported products more expensive for its own population and makes exported products cheaper for foreign purchasers. The debt will decrease and the productivity will increase again. Devaluations were very common before the euro started. The euro works as a fixed exchange rate. Less productive countries are like rats in a trap. They will never be able to get out of debts again. That is why, the chosen method to load still higher debts on these countries is strange and ill-disposed.

Long live the free capital market!

We should not forget these countries did not have big and insurmountable problems when they entered the euro-zone. Otherwise, they would not have been accepted. The problems arose, because with their admission in the eurozone, the free circulation of capital became a fact too. Banks from existing euro-countries came on a massive scale to supply cheap loans to the new euro-citizens. And because, with a same capital, banks are allowed to lend out twice as much for mortgages than for other types of loans, they mainly financed housing. However, the bankers forgot, that people don’t need just a roof above their head, but they also need income to pay back the loans. So the bankers should have financed sufficient economic activities too. But that did not happen. This way, a first wave of new euro-citizens became indebted without possibilities to pay back their debts. The real estate market crashed. The entrepreneurs and their suppliers went broke, leaving behind a desolate scene of empty and unfinished housing quarters.

The problematic euro-rules

More over, countries were labelled “problem countries”, exclusively because they could not meet the artificially set demands for the euro-zone anymore, that is to say a maximum budget deficit of 3% of their BIP and a maximum debt of 60% of the BIP. [7] Normally, it is not a problem for a country when the debt is twice as high, when, for instance, it is counterbalanced by possessions like in Greece. And a shortage on the budget of over 3% does not need to be a problem for a country either. In fact, the only problem was, that the set limits for the euro-zone turned out to be irrealistic and virtually no member country could meet them. You could also say, that those who had established these unfeasible exigences were dumbos, as well as the ministers who promised they would respect them. Anyway, it is a simple way to create a crisis.

Black sheep

Because nearly all countries had surpassed the set limits, it was important to divert the attention and point gaudily in the direction of the naughtiest boy in the classroom. For Greece, these officials even created a complete defamation campaign, in which lying Dutch politicians also cheerfully participated. Greece would have hidden its debt [8], and the Greeks were lazy and retired early etc. [9] Rapidly Greece came under attack and had to pay ever higher interest for its loans. Fortunately its euro-class friends wanted to help. Jan Kees even promised we would earn money on it.

Money is power

Once you have manoeuvered your vicyim into trouble – again, Greece did not have insurmountable problems when it became member of the eurozone – you can apply the politics of the carrot and the stick: “We will supply loans, but under condition that…” The IMF has half a century of experience with this kind of abuse of power and has applied this politic mischievously in many developing countries. First the country is overloaded with loans, so as it isn’t even able to pay the interest. The loans are provided for specific projects. Most often they are executed by foreign companies. They receive the money from the loans. The country stays with the debts. Further more everything the country has of value is sold to foreign investors. And of course the government has to cut its expenses to the bones and the population must bleed, so they know the IMF has the power.

Seizure of power of the European Commission

Although, according to article 122.2 of the TFEU [10] the European Council can offer financial help to countries in difficulties (on proposal of the European Commission), the wolfs of the European Commission could not resist the temptation to establish their own IMF, or more exactly, a European brother, that would closely cooperate with the IMF.

They got it off the ground in May and June 2010, the EFSM and the EFSF. They have a temporary character and juridical defaults. The loan capacity of the EFSF has recently been increased to 1,000 billion euros (that represents 3,300 per euro-citizen) and its role has been extended to save the banks too.

Their successor is the ESM. It has been signed on 11 July 2011 and awaits ratification by the national parliaments. The ESM gets a permanent character and the power to claim unlimited money from the States’ Vaults and lend it out at cost and risk of the eurocitizens. They are to start with a social capital of 700 billion (2100 per euro-citizen), but they are already speaking about an increase to 1.5 to 2 trillion that they think they will need.

Amendment of article 136

The ESM is based on an amendment of article 136 of the TFEU of 23 March 2011 [11], wich, in fact, contains an extension of the competences of the EU, since this amendment allows for the establishment of administrations that limit the power of national parliaments. And because this amendment is based on article 48.6 of the Treaty of Europe, this is an illegal construction. [12] In Brussels they don’t care about that and, similarly, the national parliaments don’t think the transgression of the democratic rules is that important. For the consequence would be, that the population would first have to vote about the extension of competences of Brussels. And that stupid population would surely vote against it!

The ESM gets the power to empty the States’ Vaults without the Parliaments being able to stop them. Moreover the amendment – strictly according to its text – enables the establishment of all kinds of anti-democratic administrations, which under pretext to fight the instability in the eurozone can limit the effects of national legislation and can limit civil rights.

Shock and awe

Create a crisis and seize power. At the moment a country is totally disrupted, you can shape things the way you want. It is a violent scenario the advocates of the free market economy havave applied for decades in many countries like England, Poland, China, South-Africa, Russia and the US. I refer to one of the most reveiling books of our time: The Shock Doctrine of Naomie Klein (available in many languages, a must-read.)

Now it is Greece’s turn. The defamation has done its work. The citizens in the other euro-countries hardly protest, and when they do, it is mainly because of the possible loss of their money, that their pension funds have invested there. But if they would think a little bit further, they would understand that they too are manoeuvered into debts by the rescue funds and can be the next victims tomorrow. That can happen from one day to the next, announced by a newspaper title like “ING may fail”…

Vicious circle

In the meantime, in the panic of this manufactured crisis, parliaments accept urgency measures they did not even consider the day before. Now, with the money from the urgency funds banks must be saved too. In the Netherlands they agreed with that on 6 October 2011 (the Socialist Party voted against it), Slovakia was the last to agree with the EFSF-expansion on 13 October 2011, after using the issue to dismiss the government.

So now we have a vicious circle: the banks cause the problems, they may profit directly and indirectly from the loans of the emergency measures, and they may lend out still more recklessly, for possible losses will be paid by the euro-citizens.

Away with unanimous decision making

Back to the ESM. That treaty stands or falls with the unanimity of the 17 Ministers of Finance. The European Commission and the European Central bank are confident they have enough influence to get the 17 noses in the same direction.

Well, to be exact, 17 is not really necessary. A decision is also valid when not all ministers are present. Each minister represents a number of votes, related to the number of shares his country has in the ESM. (See annexe below this article.) When 2/3 of the ministers with 2/3 of the votes are present, a ballot can be held validly. And when ministers who are present for the vote, don’t vote, that still counts as a unanimous decision. As long as nobody actually votes against it.

In theory, a hard headed minister of a small country could block the whole proces. (He must be very daring.) Barroso does not want that anymore. He wants all the European Treaties to be changed in order to abolish the unanimous decision making process. For the ESM that would mean that if Germany, France, Italy and a smaller country like the Netherlands agree with each other, the 13 other countries have nothing more to say. Long live the dictatorship in Brussels! Long live the EU!


We are already used to the fact that administrators and representatives of the people do not want to answer for their words and deeds. But at the ESM they exaggerate this to the extreme. The rules are set in a way, that everyone who works there can do or not do anything he likes, without having to answer for it to parliaments, administrations or judges! At the utmost a Minsiter of Finance can be replaced by another, who will immediately enjoy the same excessive privileges. A criminal could not wish a better den.

A final thought

The European Union has the free market economy as laid down principle. Meanwhile, almost everybody has understood that deregulation of banks, privatizations of infrastructures and the abolition of governmental functions lead to a harsh society, plagued by crises. These principles are outdated. The advocates of these principles will only be able to push them forward with violence. Greece won’t be the last victime.


Repartition of the votes among the Governors of the ESM according to the numbers of shares the member coountries detain.

Subscriptions to the authorised capital stock
ESM Member
Number of shares
Capital subscription (EUR)
Kingdom of Belgium
243 397
24 339 700 000
Federal Republic of Germany
1 900 248
190 024 800 000
Republic of Estonia
13 020
1 302 000 000
111 454
11 145 400 000
Hellenic Republic
197 169
19 716 900 000
Kingdom of Spain
833 259
83 325 900 000
French Republic
1 427 013
142 701 300 000
Italian Republic
1 253 959
125 395 900 000
Republic of Cyprus
13 734
1 373 400 000
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
17 528
1 752 800 000
5 117
511 700 000
Kingdom of the Netherlands
400 190
40 019 000 000
Republic of Austria
194 838
19 483 800 000
Portuguese Republic
175 644
17 564 400 000
Republic of Slovenia
29 932
2 993 200 000
Slovak Republic
57 680
5 768 000 000
Republic of Finland
125 818
12 581 800 000
7 000 000
700 000 000 000

Sources and references

[1] Barroso, 28 September 2011

[2] Officially, the European Central bank is not an organ of the European Union.* The ECB is the property of the central banks of the euro-countries. In turn, they are independent from the national governments in the sense that they do not take orders from them. They are ruled by a board of private persons. So the euro does not belong to the EU, neither to the national governments, but to a cartel of private bankers, the ECB in Franckfurt, the town of the Rothschild. The EU cannot give any order to the ECB, but inversily the ECB has power within the EU. It governs the European System of Central Banks (ESCB), which is an EU organ. The ECB, together with the central banks of the eurozone, are the members of this ESCB. How complicated do they have to make it to integrate a private company as an official organ with the power of an official organ?


[3] Vrijspreker 22 July 2011 *

The Dutch government and the European Commission contradict each other about the size of the new support package for Greece. According to the Ministry of Finance the amount is 109 billion euros, of which 50 billion will come from the banks and other financial institutions. According to the European Commission the governments contribute 109 billion euros and on top of it 50 billion will come from private institutions. The Dutch central bank doesn’t know: “We too, we are very curious to know what has been decided”, a spokesman of the DNB says. The European Central Bank refers to the European Commission.


[4] In the studies about optimum currency areas we can distinguish those focusing on the needed conditions and those from after 1970 (when politicians had decided they wanted a single currency in Europe) focusing on cost and benefits.


“It is possible to distinguish two major streams of the optimum currency area literature. The first stream tries to find the crucial economic characteristics to determine where the (illusionary) borders for exchange rates should be drawn (1960s-1970s). The second stream (1970s-till now) assumes that any single country fulfills completely the requirements to make it an optimal member of a monetary union. As a result, the second approach does not continue in the search for characteristics, identified as important for choosing the participants in an optimum currency area. This literature focuses on studying the costs and the benefits to a country intending to participate in a currency area.” , page 7.

Friedman put forward the advantages of flexible exchange rates between countries as follows: As it is commonly observed, the country’s prices and wages are relatively rigid and factors are immobile among the countries. As a result, under the negative demand or supply shock the only instrument to avoid higher inflation or unemployment is the change in the flexible exchange rate (that means appreciation or depreciation of the currency). This brings the economy back to the initial external and internal equilibrium. (…) Under the fixed exchange rate regime there would always be the unpleasant impact on unemployment or inflation. , page 8.

[5] Yrd. Doç. Dr. Hüseyin Mualla YÜCEOL, Mersin Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi, Maliye Bölümü, in “WHY THE EUROPEAN UNION IS NOT AN OPTIMAL CURRENCY AREA: THE LIMITS OF INTEGRATION”

Europe is not an optimal currency area. Although, On January 1, 1999, 11 EU countries initiated an EMU by adopting common currency, the euro, the EU does not appear to satisfy all of the criteria for an optimum currency area. Then, joining the EU is not identical with joining the euro for both old members and new members. , page 66

[6] Paul de Grauwe, excerpts of speech

“With up to twenty-seven members instead of the present twelve, the challenge for ensuring a smooth functioning of the enlarged Eurozone will be daunting. The reason is that in such a large group the probability of what economists call ‘asymmetric shocks’ will increase significantly. This means that some countries may experience a boom and inflationary pressures while others experience deflationary forces. If too many asymmetric shocks occur, the ECB will be paralyzed, not knowing whether to increase or to reduce the interest rates. As a result, member countries will often feel frustrated with the ECB policies that do not (and cannot) take into account the different economic conditions of the individual member countries. This leads us to the question whether the enlarged EMU will, in fact, be an optimal currency area.” (…)

“If a country is hit by negative shocks brought about by agglomeration effects, the wage cuts necessary to deal with these shocks will inevitably be very large. To give an example: If Ford Motor were to close down a plant in Belgium and to invest in Poland instead, the wage cut of Belgian workers that would convince Ford Motor not to make this move would have to be 50% or more given that the wage not feasible, then flexibility dictates that the Belgian workers be willing to move.”

[7] These are the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact.

[8] Nikolaos Salavrakos, Member of the European Parliament in “Is there a way out?”

[9] OECD statistics,3343,en_2649_34747_39371887_1_1_1_1,00.html

[10] Article 122.2 of the Treaty on the Functioning odf the European Union:

“Where a Member State is in difficulties or is seriously threatened with severe difficulties caused
by natural disasters or exceptional occurrences beyond its control, the Council, on a proposal from the
Commission, may grant, under certain conditions, Union financial assistance to the Member State
concerned. (…)”

[11] European Parliament resolution of 23 March 2011 on the draft European Council
decision amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

[12] art 48.6 Treaty of the European Union


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