Bonds that are not really binding

Should the €2,800 billion in sovereign bonds or the equivalent* that are on the European Central Bank’s balance sheet be treated just like any other bonds? This question, which has come up regularly over the past several months, is far from being of mere academic interest.

In fact, it is symptomatic of a wish to forgive or even cancel a portion of the public debt being raised to cope with the Covid-19 crisis. But, rather than simply ignoring it, a more standard solution for the financial markets would be to regard such debt as virtual for the moment and to exclude it temporarily from public debt ratios.

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