Germany 1919, Greece 2010

April 26, 2010

Greece’s decision to ask for help from its European Union partners and the International Monetary Fund has triggered a new wave of notes on where the country’s debt crisis stands and what will happen next. For the most part, they have managed to avoid groan-inducing headlines referencing marathons, tragedies, Hellas having no fury or even Big Fat Greek Defaults.

More German misery for the Greeks

April 20, 2010


The rescue plan put together for Greece by its European Union partners was not working anyway — at least as far as financial market speculation was concerned. But then up pops Axel Weber, Bundesbank chief and European Central Bank governing council members.

Confidence vs. reality on Europe’s fiscal front

By Michael Winfrey
March 16, 2010

What do Poland, the European Union’s brightest economic light, and Greece, its dimmest, have in common? Both have plans to cut their budget deficits to the Union’s  prescribed 3 percent level by 2012, and both of those plans depend on a lot of ifs.

from Global News Journal:

What flesh will be put on the bones of an EMF?

March 9, 2010

In the space of a few weeks, the idea of creating a European Monetary Fund to rescue financially troubled EU member states has gone from being a high-level brainwave from a pair of economists to a major policy initiative backed by powerbroker Germany. In EU terms, that's Formula One fast.

Time to promote the EU?

March 5, 2010


Member states of the European Union like to think of themselves as partners, sharing in a common future. But when it comes to business, things tend to go by the board. Consider, for example, the scramble to outdo each other in attracting  investment from outside the bloc.

Lack of debt Estonia’s undoing?

February 23, 2010


Low public debt would usually be a good thing, but it might throw a spanner in the works of Estonia‘s quest to join the euro zone.

Is Rehn the EU Commission’s Carrie Bradshaw?

February 12, 2010
OlliRehn The new European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn likens himself to Carrie Bradshaw, the lead character in television show Sex and the City, and thinks his small hometown in Finland is the centre of the world.

“I’d be Carrie, I guess, since I like to write,” he told the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat when asked about which character in the show he most resembles.

Never fear, Jean-Claude is here

February 9, 2010

Any doubts about financial markets’ faith in European Central Bank  President Jean-Claude Trichet’s cure-all ability should trichetfeb9have been put to rest  after a euro flurry over Trichet cutting short a visit to Sydney to return to Brussels for a meeting of European Union leaders.

Political economy and the euro

February 8, 2010

The reality of  ‘political economy’  is something that irritates many economists – the ”purists”, if you like. The political element is impossible to model;  it often flies in the face of  textbook economics;  and democratic decision-making and backroom horse trading can be notoriously difficult to predict and painfully slow.  And political economy is all pervasive in 2010 – Barack Obama’s proposals to rein in the banks is rooted in public outrage; reading China’s monetary and currency policies is like Kremlinology; capital curbs being introduced in Brazil and elsewhere aim to prevent market overshoot; and British budgetary policies are becoming the political football ahead of this spring’s UK election. The list is long, the outcomes uncertain, the market risk high.

The euro gets a warning shot of Greek fire

January 6, 2010

Juergen Stark , Germany’s ECB executive board member, is well known as a true believer in tight fiscal discipline, so his reported comments in Italy’s Il Sole 24 Ore about not bailing Greece out of its financial difficulties are not out of character. But the market reaction must have at least given pause for thought to EU leaders wondering how far to go in coddling their wayward child.