I waited a couple of days before touching on the subject, just to read and listen to all the analyzes and the vulgate. Now, however, after long and thoughtful reflection, I find it right to extend to you the question that disturbs my sleep with respect to the break between Mef and Unicredit on the acquisition of Monte dei Paschi: thank you, because what emerged should be substantiated as a grain for the Draghi government? Let’s face it, that meeting between the Treasury and the Milanese institute represented a pantomime from the very beginning. Andrea Orcel is a manager too long-term in the banking sector not to know the ABC, it is no coincidence that he managed to give Antonveneta to Mps, making it pay as if it were Goldman Sachs. During a negotiation it is not possible to remain always and in any case on the bank of those who pull the rope, every now and then it is necessary to sketch. And grant. Especially when the counterparty is not a private competitor, but the state. That is, those who make rules and regulations. And that it is better to have a friend. Or, at least, not a sworn enemy.
The conditions set by Unicredit on the Mef were halter from the beginning, something even paroxysmal: a bit like those husbands tired of leading a double life and who begin to disseminate around the house clues of their serial adultery, in order to be uncovered and close with an era of subterfuge and lies. By chance, then, the timing with which the breakup took place appears to have been studied at the table. Four days from today’s date, set by the bank in Piazza Gae Aulenti as a mandatory deadline to pass from words to operational plans: in short, by today it was necessary to put pen to paper. Said and done, the state had to back down. But the scenography was ready, the backdrop almost perfect.
At the end of last week, in fact, Standard&Poor’s published its opinion on Italy, confirming its BBB rating but raising its outlook from stable to positive. Coincidentally, the note contained a part specifically dedicated to the Mps chapter. Indeed, the risks that a transfer to another institution that is too expensive for the State could represent for the public accounts and the balance of the entire sector, already in the Risk phase starting with Generali and Mediobanca. How strange, it looked like something called. Said and done, 24 hours after the US rating agency’s warning, that’s it Reuters fires the scoop of the breakdown of negotiations between Mef and Unicredit: all with the markets still closed, so with another 24 hours to metabolize everything.
Not to mention the fact that Mario Draghi met Emmanuel Macron at a bilateral summit in Brussels before the start of the European Council, on the day of the Standard & Poor’s report: Angela Merkel (and the hawk Jens Weidmann in the ECB-Eba ), perhaps the Prime Minister has tested the ground to obtain heavy and substantial support in Europe, aware of what was about to happen and therefore of the need for the State to remain in the capital of Mps beyond the deadline of 31 December set by the Europe? And, perhaps, between one word and another, the Axa key was also touched, already in partnership with Mps in the branch of insurance products and perhaps to be played as plus to entice the fans of the mythological third banking hub in view of the 3 billion capital increase that will now be necessary?
Just coincidences, of course. One fact remains: why should this be a problem for Palazzo Chigi? For the old story of Draghi at the head of Bank of Italy who gave the green light to the Antonveneta operation orchestrated by Orcel, at the time a consultant to Santander? We know it, 99% of the population doesn’t even know what it is. Just as it matters little to people, frightened by Covid, green passes and bills, of the fact that at the head of the Board of Unicredit there is the former Pd minister, Pier Carlo Padoan. All politics, starting with the president of the Tuscany Region, applauds the failure of the negotiations: MPS must not be sold off! In fact, a bank so profitable and capable of generating profits cannot be sacrificed, it is necessary to pump a little more public money to keep it alive and guarantee the mythical employment continuity to his army of employees. The Alitalia of the banks, in short. With a political charge that is anything but symbolic, starting with the Foundation.
Paradoxically, if, as certainly happens, the prime minister manages to snatch a substantial time extension from the EU and perhaps even an exemption from state aid that allows for further funding (perhaps with a nice way back-door), it could even win an autarchic and nationalist victory, stuff that until now belonged only to the cultural baggage of the French economy. In short, a result sovereign to be sold in the Council of Ministers. And of internal balances in the ruling coalition. Do you think that the pro-Draghi blaze played by Minister Giorgetti from overseas is the result of personal flattery? If MPS is not sold off, it will indeed remain autonomous and Italian and protect the employees, how can the League break on the hottest economic issues, pensions in the lead? And if we actually arrive at a prodrome of a third banking pole that represents SMEs and territories and not the trading desks, already widely present in the attention of politics through Unicredit and Intesa, how can Matteo Salvini get in the way, when Europe itself would you like to curse the agenda that is dictating to the Draghi government is in fact guaranteeing time and exceptions to the autonomous future of MPS?
Would this be the picture that sees the prime minister in trouble, perhaps? If so, I wish I had such troubles in life. And many. This is the classic situation win-win for the former governor of the ECB, nothing but an obstacle. And this epilogue is not the result of chance or the conjunctural irreconcilability of the parties in a market logic, it is simply the pivot point of a pantomime artfully orchestrated from the beginning. Perhaps, even from the very choice of bypassing the principle of popular sovereignty and placing Mario Draghi as an empire in Palazzo Chigi. Mps will still cost us very dearly, as Italian taxpayers? No. But it will do it at the level of do ut des political and fiscal towards Brussels, not at the level of intervention by Mef or Cdp. Using a brutal termology, the EU Commission is already preparing us all one thing. The presentation? Soon. Not surprisingly, Maurizio Landini in the space of a week went from a fraternal embrace with Mario Draghi to the threat of a general strike on pensions. Like wolves, he smelled the air. And he smelled an epochal rip-off, more than snow.
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