Euro Crisis Threatens European Way of Life

It’s unclear what Meles Zenawi used to think about Europe. Prime minister of Ethiopia heads an authoritarian regime that controls one of the poorest countries on Earth, located in East Africa, a region where ethnic conflicts are usually waged with Kalashnikovs. To a man like Zenawi, rich, peaceful Europe must seem like an island of blessed, or rather, must have seemed. Zenawi’s view of the old continent probably changed on Monday of last week. Ethiopian leader, attending a dinner hosted by exclusive G20 club of the most important industrialized and developing countries in Los Cabos, Mexico, was astonished by what he heard. The doors of the dining room had hardly been closed before European representatives began giving their counterparts from other continents an eye-opening demonstration of how powerless and divided they are. Humiliation began with a simple question from the host, Mexican President Felipe Calderon. He wanted to know what the Europeans intended to do to get the high interest rates that the Spanish government currently has to pay on its bonds under control. It was an important issue, replied Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, whose country is also having great difficulty funding its debt at sustainable interest rates in the market. He proposed that the euro bailout fund buy bonds on the secondary market. Out of the question, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply replied. But why not, her Spanish counterpart wanted to know? Then, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy complained about how unfair it was that the crisis is affecting his country, especially given that Spaniards are “hard-working people” who get up “at 7 am every morning”. In the end, it was British Prime Minister David Cameron who said what many people in the room were thinking. He pointed out that the euro is not irreversible, and that a failure of common currency is quite conceivable. French President François Hollande tried to downplay Cameron’s remarks, but no one was convinced anymore. In about half an hour, Zenawi and some of his counterparts probably learned more about Europe than they wanted to know. European Union is in the middle of the worst crisis of its history, the common currency is threatening to break apart, and the leaders of the most important European nations were quarreling in full view of their counterparts from five continents. Everyone knows what is at stake. “If the euro fails, Europe will fail,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a May 2010 speech in western German city of Aachen. Since then, Europeans have held summit after summit and pledged bigger and bigger sums of money in a bid to get the situation under control. But it’s only become worse. Hardly anyone today would be willing to bet that Greece can remain a member of eurozone for much longer. Spain, the fourth-largest economy in the eurozone, is on the verge of financial collapse, and it’s only a matter of time before it too is forced to ask for a bailout, as Greece, Ireland, Portugal and now Cyprus have already done. On Monday, Spanish government officially asked for EU help for its struggling banks. This means that almost a third of eurozone’s 17 members can no longer finance themselves by borrowing money on markets. Situation is so dramatic, Italian Prime Minister, is predicting that fate of euro will be decided within 10 days (…..)



Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional


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