In-depth introduction: Government bonds

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One topic has brought Europe’s top finance officials together this year. Ironically, it’s the same topic that is tearing the continent’s finance system apart – the dangerous embrace between sovereigns and their domestic banks, in which states depend on the banks to buy their bonds, while the banks depend on the state to prop them up, with each weakening the other as a result.

In March, the European Union’s competition chief, Joaquin Almunia, said the region’s leaders were “not delivering” on ple