Several years ago Mario Draghi announced the ECB would do what it takes (within the rules) to prevent national govt defaults, which immediately reversed the climb of national govt rates, bringing them down to where they are today. But it also came with ‘conditionality’ regarding fiscal policy, where a violation of the fiscal rules carried the threat of the removal of ECB support.
This time it’s different. As part of this broad based fight to reverse the current deflationary forces, the national CB’s will now be buying their own nation’s debt, thereby, for all practical purposes, eliminating default risk. And with no mention of fiscal conditionality. Taken at its word, this means the latest QE policy has removed the ECB’s leverage over national govt fiscal policy, as the ECB did not tie it’s securities purchases to fiscal compliance.
Therefore Greece and Italy, the two members desiring fiscal expansion, are operationally free to do so without the threat of default driving up their interest rates. They may face EU penalties, etc. but those are a very different matter than the prior default risk.
So the door is now open to anyone bold enough to step through. However they probably don’t know it and probably wouldn’t go there if they did…
And, as previously discussed, QE per se is a deflationary/contractionary strong euro bias in the process of making a very bad situation that much worse.