Merkel and Sarkozy in Talks to End Eurozone

Fears that Italy’s fall may drag the whole region down, prompted the ‘strongest’ economies to think about doing away with the current shape of the Eurozone.

Guardian.co.uk
November 10, 2011

Fears that Europe’s sovereign debt crisis was spiralling out of control have intensified as political chaos in Athens and Rome, and looming recession, created panic on world markets.

Reports emerging from Brussels said that Germany and France had begun preliminary talks on a break-up of the eurozone, amid fears that Italy would be too big to rescue.

Despite Silvio Berlusconi‘s announcement that he would step down as prime minister once austerity measures were pushed through parliament, a collapse of investor confidence in the eurozone’s third-biggest economy sent interest rates in Italy to the levels that triggered bailouts in Portugal, Greece and Ireland.

Italian bond yields surged through the critical 7% mark, at one point hitting 7.5%, amid concern that the deteriorating situation had moved the crisis into a dangerous new phase.

In Athens talks to appoint a prime minister to succeed George Papandreou were in deadlock, and will resume on Thursday morning. The Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, sought to reassure the markets by promising that Berlusconi would be leaving office soon.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said the situation had become “unpleasant”, and called for eurozone members to accelerate plans for closer political integration. “It is time for a breakthrough to a new Europe,” she said. “Because the world is changing so much, we must be prepared to answer the challenges. That will mean more Europe, not less Europe.”

The president of the European commission, José Manuel Barroso, issued a new call for the EU to “unite or face irrelevance” in the face of the mounting economic crisis in Italy. “We are witnessing fundamental changes to the economic and geopolitical order that have convinced me that Europe needs to advance now together or risk fragmentation. Europe must either transform itself or it will decline. We are in a defining moment where we either unite or face irrelevance,” he said.

Senior policymakers in Paris, Berlin and Brussels are reported to have discussed the possibility of one or more countries leaving the eurozone, while the remaining core pushes on toward deeper economic integration, including on tax and fiscal policy. “France and Germany have had intense consultations on this issue over the last months, at all levels,” a senior EU official in Brussels told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions.

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Bankers Order the Looting of Greece

According to Max Keiser, people of the kinds of Forbes are already in Greece to get its assets for pennies on the Euro. It is now clear the rest of the countries will come next. That is the plan.

Reuters
June 18, 2011

A restructuring of Greece’s 340 billion euro ($481.5 billion) debt is not on the agenda and would damage the country’s credibility on bond markets, the European Union’s internal markets commissioner said on Saturday.

Forcing Greece’s private creditors to take part in an upcoming aid package would count as a restructuring and is not being considered either, Michel Barnier told Europe 1 radio.

“This question of a restructuring … is not on the table,” he said. “It would only postpone the problem and in the wake of a restructuring Greece would face exactly the same difficulties and would no longer have any credibility to borrow.”

Greece’s embattled prime minister on Friday sacrificed his finance minister to force through an unpopular austerity plan and avert bankruptcy, while EU powers Germany and France promised to go on funding Athens.

Citing German and French backing for a plan to involve private bondholders such as banks on a purely voluntary basis, Barnier said: “To impose an effort would be to acknowledge a restructuring and that is not on the agenda.”

Describing Greece as a country that had been badly run and had lived above its means, Barnier said the solution was a “collective” effort to successfully thrash out the details of a new rescue plan in the coming weeks.

“We don’t have the right to draw blank cheques on the back of future generations,” he said. “The work is to continue over the coming weeks.”

Bond markets remain spooked by fears of a Greek default and most economists are overwhelmingly sceptical that Greece can ever repay its debts in full.