Gideon Rachman on Europe and the eurozone

From a Gideon Rachman FT blog post, this is still my view as well:

1. As Kerin Hope, our Athens correspondent, makes clear in a fine post – the political situation in Greece is arguably deteriorating, rather than improving. What is true for Greece is true for Europe as a whole. The European parliamentary elections in May are likely to yield quite shocking results – with the rise of far-right and far-left parties in core countries, such as France. This could be destabilising, to put it mildly.

2. As I argued in a recent column, the real economy in important countries such as Italy is still in very bad shape.

3. The euro has been saved – for now. But the underlying structural problems of a common currency that is not backed by a political union are still unresolved. And not much closer to resolution, either.

None of that means that it is necessarily irrational to make a short-term bet on Europe. But anybody who thinks the euro-story is over, is likely to get a nasty shock at some stage.

I would again stress the point that the economics of the eurozone crisis are entirely solvable (though unpleasant).  It is managing the politics of so many disparate nations that makes it tricky, and it is not obvious whether this dimension of the problem truly has been solved.  And on the economics side, the eurozone is encountering deflation risk, and arguably the main problems are moving from the periphery to France and Italy.  If you don’t think Italy can resume normal economic growth anytime soon, it is not clear how any of the plans are supposed to end up working.

Here is a good analysis of the new Greek bond deal.


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