paul
Paul Goldschmidt joined Goldman Sachs in New York (1962-1969) and was appointed as a Director of Goldman Sachs International in London (1970-1985). After seven years as a financial consultant in London and Monaco (1985-1993), he became Director of the “Financial Operations Service,” part of the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs at the European Commission (1993-2002). In that capacity, he played a key role in the harmonization and reform of European financial markets before and during the advent of the euro. He also served on the Board of Directors of the European Investment Fund (2001-2002). Since his retirement in 2002, he has been writing on European political and financial matters and has actively participated in many international conferences.
 
Contacts
13 Avenue Victoria 1000 Bruxelles Belgique Tel: +32 (02) 6475310 Mob: +32 (0497) 549259 E-mail: paul.goldschmidt@skynet.be
European, Politics

The “New Sleepwalkers”

The new “Sleepwalkers”! Current geopolitical developments in Europe and beyond recall those preceding 1914 during which, imperceptibly, as described by Christopher Clark in his book “The Sleepwalkers”, events would engulf the planet in World War I. It was the epilogue of a lengthy period of “globalisation”, which started with the industrial revolution in the 19th century and was abetted by the rivalries between European (colonial) empires. The world and Europe in particular would only recover after World War II having, in the interval, wrought untold destruction, hardship and loss of life on an unprecedented scale, as well as initiated an irreversible upheaval of established relationships among world powers. While recognizing the differences between the “globalisation” that preceded 1914 and the…

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European, Politics

French elections

The misleading statements of the National Front concerning the Euro and the EU must be exposed! The recent pronouncements by Marine Le Pen and her cronies concerning the withdrawal of France from the Euro (and the EU) are full of assertions as vague as contradictory if not deliberately false. Thus, in her lengthy speech last Sunday in Bordeaux, she pretends that the content of what she refers to as “the (European) directive Sapin II” is being hidden from the French. This regulation calls for bailing in customer deposits as a prerequisite for accessing public funds in a bank restructuring as was the case – she adds – in Cyprus. She insists that leaving the Euro would protect French depositors. This…

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European, Politics

The (pseudo) European engagement of François Fillon!

A view from Brussels. The speech of François Fillon in Maisons-Alfort on February 24th was delivered with pugnacity and conviction and should by all means have satisfied his audience. The section dedicated to Europe had clearly a dual objective: first appear not to abandon the “pro- EU” field to Emmanuel Macron and second to lure back into the fold supporters of the National Front, in particular retirees; indeed an increasing number among them are worrying about the impact of leaving the Euro and the EU (or their outright implosion) on their personal savings, their purchasing power and living standards, if not the ability to enjoy the freedom of movement of people and capital that membership of the EU guarantees. The…

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European, Politics

Will Marine Le Pen please Stand!

I accuse! Mrs Marine Le Pen, President of the Front National (“FN”), her colleagues, Messrs. Florian Phillipot, David Racheline and all the spokesmen for the FN within the framework of the French presidential election, of disseminating knowingly and deliberately erroneous information through the press and other media, including social networks, by misleading statements or omissions, concerning the implications for France and its nationals of a replacement of the Euro by a new “national currency”! The type of disinformation disseminated by FN, is an example of the current trend of proposing “alternative truths”: they exemplify postures that have been successfully employed in the recent “Brexit” and American presidential campaigns, about which it is far too early to evaluate their ultimate consequences….

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Economic and Financial

The French “sovereign” debt: questions to the national Front and market operators.

Recently, the Chief strategist of the French National Front, David Racheline, indicated that, after the country’s withdrawal from the Euro, the service of the national debt would be discharged in the new national currency as far as bonds issued under French law (+/- €2.000 billion) were concerned, while the remainder (+/- €200 billion) in the currency specified in the indenture. This declaration is evidence of a highly debatable interpretation by the FN of the concept of “national sovereignty”! In response to this statement, Moody’s (a Rating Agency) indicated that any unilateral change in the currency of denomination would constitute a flagrant violation of the issue’s terms and conditions. France would be declared in default which would immediately accelerate the repayment…

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Economic and Financial

The French “sovereign” Debt: questions to the National Front and market operators.

Recently, the Chief strategist of the French National Front, David Racheline, indicated that, after the country’s withdrawal from the Euro, the service of the national debt would be discharged in the new national currency as far as bonds issued under French law (+/- €2.000 billion) were concerned, while the remainder (+/- €200 billion) in the currency specified in the indenture. This declaration is evidence of a highly debatable interpretation by the FN of the concept of “national sovereignty”! In response to this statement, Moody’s (a Rating Agency) indicated that any unilateral change in the currency of denomination would constitute a flagrant violation of the issue’s terms and conditions. France would be declared in default which would immediately accelerate the repayment…

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Economic and Financial, Regulation and Supervision

Time to revisit the Governance of Rating Agencies?

Among the many reforms instituted in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, dealing with the weaknesses embedded in the operations of Rating Agencies emerged among the main priorities. Both in the United States and Europe a battery of legislative measures were adopted covering their accreditation, their transparency (publication of their methodologies), their responsibility and their supervision which together form a coherent “regulatory” environment in which these Agencies now operate. It is appropriate to recall that the purpose of “ratings” is to provide assistance (and not serve as a substitute) for evaluating risks associated with the timely service of debts of a given issuer. The 2008 crises, (linked to the failure of subprime debts in the USA) had brought…

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European, Politics

Stand Up for Europe: An appeal for Europe’s Youth to embrace political engagement!

The European project is ailing and its very existence is ever more in question. This situation is particularly worrisome among the young because it affects significantly their hopes and future prospects. An EU which would re-establish internal borders, put national currencies in competition, impose individual legislative and regulatory norms, shun the equivalence of diplomas, etc., can only limit severely young people’s expectations and encourage a brain drain to foreign destinations. If the rising generation wishes to reverse this trend, it should exercise its rights and fully embrace participation in the political process. This mobilisation should occur forthwith because the political landscape is undergoing an unprecedented upheaval. In particular, the number of concerned participants has mushroomed and their capacity to communicate…

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European, Politics

What answer to Trumps inaugural address?

The American President’s speech, following his taking the oath of office, will have shocked and frightened a large swathe of American public opinion and to a far greater extent Europe’s! It calls for an immediate answer without any complaisance because, in the face of the slogan “America first”, the only possible answer is the assertion of a European Union fully prepared to defend its own interests.  Undoubtedly we will need to apply to ourselves some of the shock recipes enumerated by Trump: protect citizens interests of rather than those of the political, media and financial oligarchies, reinforce our military capabilities, deal from a position of equality (if not strength) and devoid of any complex with our partners etc.   Let us…

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European, Politics

A Geopolitical Fiction

Chapter I The next crisis will arise from where it is not expected!   April 2017: Erdogan has just won overwhelmingly a referendum that institutes a Presidential (dictatorial) regime in Turkey. In the interval, Donald Trump has settled in the White House and is busy implementing large segments of his program: a cut in taxes and a stimulation of infrastructure investments which have been greeted enthusiastically by stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic. This has completely obliterated the consequences of rising interest rates which have further reinforced the dollar and put the equilibrium of the budgets of several Members of the Eurozone in jeopardy. In this euphoria of financial markets, the protectionist measures instituted by the United States…

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