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". Mr President, Mr Barnier, ladies and gentlemen, the reason why the issue of the bank stress tests is of such decisive importance and is regarded so critically by our citizens is because the banks are at the centre of this crisis. It was the banks who invested huge amounts of money without considering the risks, creating property bubbles in a number of Member States, who are now stricken by this crisis. Something that we always believed to be impossible, namely that the markets might be less well informed than many external observers, has actually come to pass and the markets got things severely wrong. It is evident that the banks that caused the crisis were unable to make the right decisions during the crisis. It is now also apparent that national debt has also increased enormously during the downturn, firstly due to the cost of rescuing the banks and the associated guarantees and secondly, and more importantly, due to the cost of the downturn itself. Thus, the central question is: are any serious lessons being learned from the banking crisis? It is not simply the case that the banks are responsible for what happened in the past, but also for present difficulties, because the markets are still not operating correctly. A total of EUR 427 billion in outstanding demands have now accumulated between the central banks in the accounts of the European Central Bank system and the TARGET2 payment transaction system; this is because the system has intervened between the central banks in place of the non-functioning markets. Because of the weakness in the banking system, we are hesitant about introducing the debt restructuring measures urgently needed in the weaker countries. To put it in a nutshell: people in Greece, Ireland and Portugal have the feeling that they are suffering because the structure of our bank system is weak. European stress tests have been carried out over the last two years. We believed that we would finally find out the truth. As has already been said many times, the 2010 stress tests were weak, particularly in relation to government risks, which were ignored almost entirely. These bank stress tests did not reflect reality. The picture is very similar in 2011. Although we are grateful for your contribution Mr Barnier, you have not explained why the risks associated with government bonds are recorded in the trading book, but not in the banking book. The explanation is always the same: we always have the rescue packages to fall back on. However this is just an audacious way of pre-empting a political decision. After all, the rescue packages cannot simply be taken for granted, but must first be approved by the national parliaments. If these rescue packages are quoted as the reason why risks are not priced correctly, then in practical terms this is like nationalising private risk as a . What is more, we still do not have a proper stress test for the insurance market. I am calling on you, Mr Barnier, also to take a close look at this area. I am disappointed that the European Banking Authority, which we established and which is responsible for the stress tests, actually failed its own stress test. Mr Barnier, please stay on track and pursue this matter with greater urgency. This whole issue seems to illustrate the words of Bertolt Brecht when he said: founding a bank is a much worse crime than robbing one. However, he was wrong. We must now learn that carrying the burden of the banks’ debt is much worse."@en1

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