Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Euro Crisis an excuse for consolidation of power?

A Greece euro exit could make Lehman's collapse 'look like a tea party'
London (CNN) -- The wheels are coming off the wagon. The fat lady is about to sing. The proverbial is about to hit the fan. It doesn't matter which saying you use, the facts are inescapable. Greece's membership of the eurozone is untenable under the current conditions and everyone knows it. Some like Hungary's finance minister say openly Greece will leave the euro. The only question is what catalyst will force it out and when. The nearest deadline to hand is the country's June 17th elections, when the Greek voters will decide whether to support parties who will adhere to the bailout agreements or those who want to tear them up.

[...]

Obviously now everyone has Spain in their sights. And there is where the real problem lies. Spain is too big to fully bail out a la Greece and definitely too big too fail. If Spain gets into too much trouble "Project Euro" is likely over. From all my private talks with European officials it has become clear -- Spain is the line in the sand. Greece may be too far gone and be allowed to fall, but Spain will be defended till the bitter end. So I fully expect European leaders to give Spain something to take the boot off the throat of austerity in the coming weeks. Probably the same for Portugal.

European officials have made mistakes in their dealings with Greece. The austerity measures were too harsh. They shouldn't have been nearly so brutal, and that lesson has been learnt. Now with the election of Francois Hollande as France's new president everyone can change course slightly and pretend they meant to do it all along (they didn't). Expect a growth pact to be agreed between Germany and France to sit alongside the main Fiscal Compact, which Germany will not allow to be re-opened.

I could speculate for hours about which solution will be found, what formula they will adopt to keep the whole thing moving -- and frankly, it would be useless. This crisis is now moving too fast and has taken on a life of its own. The firewall is starting to smolder. The austerity plans are starting to fray. The European Central Bank is cutting loose several Greek banks it does not consider solvent. The eurozone is all but back in recession. There are some uncontrollable aspects (the Greek voters for instance) which make forecasting the future direction just about impossible.

I still believe that the single currency will survive in some shape and form. I just cannot see the eurozone surviving in its present form -- not without the most drastic re-organization towards fiscal union, a federation of states with a central bank and treasury. [...]

The crisis they themselves created, becomes the excuse to tighten their grip and consolidate their power.
     

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