The Slog interviews some experts on the subject of Sovereign Identity
Following the German proposal for a system of Gauleiters throughout the eurozone, merchant and investment banks have been quick to respond with ideas as to how the EU as a whole could be monetized, and thus wipe out its sovereign debt problem. Already, leading lights in the New York Stock and Chicago Mercantile Exchanges have begun to involve the Frankfurt Dax in a scheme to create the world’s first Sovereign Exchange Market (SEM), in which shares in the 27 EU States might ultimately be offered on various bourses, subject to the success or otherwise of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) planned for Greece on two new Singapore and Shanghai SEMs later this year.
“Basically, I think we have to view this new space as, you know, kind of like when VW bought Skoda,” explained Todd Runtwolski, newly appointed Head of Nation State Marketing at Metro-Goering-Norodny in New York. “So although nobody wants to buy Greece right on account of it’s just donkeys struggling under the weight of obese tax evaders, now the actual sovereignty has been the subject of a takeover by Merkel, Schauble, Draghi, then we think investors will see this as a one-off mega-mezzanine opportunity.”
Critics point out that The Gauleiter Memorandum* represents a hostile takeover widely opposed by Greece’s current owners the Greeks, but Mr Runtwolski brushed this aside as “negadive thinking”.
“Look, we’re all here for the shareholders in the end, right?” he asked assertively, “It’s all a question of ‘are you in or are you out?’ There’s 11.5 million of these guys and they’re starving. They’ll take the money if we cut them in. And if they don’t, then we’ll cut them out. It’s a win-win from our perspective”.
Asked about how MGN would set about the knotty problem of valuation, Runtwolski added, “It’s all a question of directional money-flow. Traditionally, the German State has been associated – unfairly in my view – with a one-way upstream surge of stuff that cynics might call asset-stripping. But really that only happened in minority sectors like Renaissance paintings, national treasures and slave workers. This time we expect the wealth of Germany to trickle down to Athens. It’s simple tried and tested Reaganomics really.”
But Todd was more circumspect on the subject of rebranding.
“That’s an area of some sensidividy,” he conceded, “Greece is a fairly well-established brand with strong associations of holidays, and a very strong smell of kebabs. But in the sovereign investor space, it mainly has connotations of crooks, food-poisoning, and a widespread lack of paperwork. So I guess we’re gonna need a liddle consultancy input on that one”.
I spoke about this issue to leading Sovereign Image advisers Bellend & Pottingshed. High-flying account director Jeremy Gnome-Orrals ran the lucrative Gadaffi account until its unfortunate demise last year, but from his newly-created position as Rogue State Business Developer, he gave us the benefit of his experience.
“Rebranding would be essential,” opined Jems, “And off the top of my head I’d suggest something like New Hellenic Enterprises or whatever. But that’s just dealing off the top of my head. Dealing from the bottom of the pack – do we have a salute here? – Zorba Creative Industries. We’d need to go back to the classic history as a feint to help the target market forget, well, pretty much everything after 1670 really.”
Further down the line, I asked him, could other rebranding be adopted as the Berlin-dominated EU gradually took over fiscal responsibility for every sovereign member?
“Absolutely,” he enthused, “I mean, gosh, the possibilities are endless. Belgium, you see, is pretty useless and largely thought of in terms of bureacrats, mayonnaise and chips. But rebranded as Lower Goldman Saxony…..well, the sky’s the limit.”
After the events of the last week, I’m not sure there are any limits now. We shall see.
* The Gauleiter Memorandum, soon to be a Hollywood blockbuster starring people who don’t look anything like Tim Geithner, Angela Merkel, Mario Draghi, Wolfgang Schauble, Nicolas Sarkozy or Lucas Papademos.