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Too Big to Save?

By Matthew Yglesias

"Too Big to Save?"

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Via Tyler Cowen, the Financial Times‘s list of European banks whose assets exceed the GDP of their home country:

eurobanks.png

The European integration process has been mired on the shoals for several years now. On some level, though, that’s because it’s become something of a solution in search of a problem. Europe is clearly integrated enough at this point already to achieve the main initial goals of European unity — war between the major powers is unthinkable, the combined bloc is too big to be easily pushed around by Russia, and they have a major voice in multilateral economic institutions. Something along the lines of a failure of a bank that’s too big for its home country to rescue or take over, though, could be the “problem” that drives people to cast their eyes toward Brussels. On the other hand, the four top banks on the list are from Switzerland and Iceland neither of which are in the EU. Meanwhile, I seem to recall that when I was in Iceland (summer of 2005, I think) there was a big political controversy about bank deregulation.

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