The EIB is holding large quantities of Greek bonds. if Greece would default on these bonds, how would these (paper) losses be felt by individual tax payers in the other EU countries? Would this be through direct resource transfers out of tax income by the otehr EU governments (to cover these losses)? or would the EIB simply "print" money, and the effect would hence be felt through general price inflation? Many thanks in advance, Wouter


1 Answer 1


It just arrived to the Swiss Central Banks. Its assets were depreciated of $50 billion in six months. As fortune summarized:

Luckily for the Swiss National Bank, it can’t actually become insolvent, since it can simply print francs to cover any losses it suffers. The announcement caused the value of the Swiss Franc to tumble, falling as much as 0.4% against the euro on Friday.

If the ECB would lose money because its assets'value is decreasing, the ECB would print money as well.

By the way, there was an article in voxeu from Paul de Grauwe and Yuemei Ji which title was "Why the ECB should not insist on repayment of its Greek bonds":

It would be easy for the ECB to solve this problem. The easiest way would be to write off the Geek bonds. As we have argued earlier such a write-off has no fiscal implications. It means that the circular flow of interest from Greece to the ECB and back is discontinued. In contrast, the repayment of the bonds by Greece has fiscal implications and leads to transfers from Greece to the other member countries. This is quite a perverse transfer given the sorry state of the Greek public finances.

I am giving you the advise to read the article from de Grauwe and Ji really. I think it would answer most of your questions.

  • $\begingroup$ The OP has asked about the EIB, not the ECB $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Aug 3, 2015 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ True, indeed. However, the EIB can not "print money". $\endgroup$
    – Etienne
    Aug 4, 2015 at 10:59

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