Claims that ‘austerity has failed’ are popular, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world. This column argues that this narrative is factually wrong and ignores the reasons underlying the Greek crisis. The worst move for Greece would be to return to its old ways. Greece needs to realise that things could actually become much worse than they are now, particularly if membership in the Eurozone cannot be assured. Instead of looking back, Greece needs to continue building a functioning state and a functioning market economy.
Lars P Feld, Christoph M Schmidt, Isabel Schnabel, Benjamin Weigert, Volker Wieland, Friday, February 20, 2015
Peter Allen, Barry Eichengreen, Gary Evans, Friday, February 28, 2014
Greece needs debt reduction. This column argues that instead of offering another lengthening of maturities and reduction in interest rates, Eurozone leaders should seize the occasion and implement debt-for-equity swaps that would encourage foreign investment, speed privatisation and jumpstart the Greek economy.
Domingo Cavallo, Friday, July 15, 2011
Many argue that Greece should drop the euro like Argentina dropped the dollar in 2002. In this column, Domingo Cavallo – who was Argentina's finance minister during the heart of its crisis – argues that exiting the euro would be wrong. Argentina’s growth recovery after it de-pegged the peso was due to exogenous developments in global commodity prices – not to the peso devaluation. He also suggests steps for an orderly restructuring of Greek debt.
Guido Tabellini, Friday, July 15, 2011
The Eurozone crisis is tearing Europe apart. This column argues that Eurozone leaders must (i) agree to create European-level institutions to monitor national budget and banking policies and (ii) draw a line between solvent and insolvent Eurozone nations before the markets do it for them. It adds that we are now discovering that a loss of sovereignty became inevitable the day we decided to create the single currency.
Avinash Persaud, Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Eurozone crisis is not over. This column argues that solving it requires a voluntary debt swap. Creditors should be invited to swap old Greek bonds for new bonds backed by the European and IMF package. Par values would be the same but the coupons would be lower and the maturities doubled. The exact parameters should be set so the value of the greater certainty of payout was offset by the lower coupons. This would strengthen the euro, facilitate recovery of the $145 billion pledged, and yet force private creditors to realise that Eurozone support is not a one-way bet.
Charles Wyplosz, Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Markets liked the European Stabilisation Mechanism but a closer look shows that the money is announced but not available. When markets realise this, they may do to Portugal and Spain what they did to Greece. Worse still, crucial principles have been sacrificed for the sake of unconvincing announcements. The debt crisis is unlikely to go away and the monetary union will have to be reconstructed to re-establish the principle of collective fiscal discipline.
Michael Burda, Stefan Gerlach, Tuesday, May 11, 2010
This weekend’s plan has been received positively by the markets, but it is too early to call it a success. Future monetary historians may judge it either a brilliant move or the first step on a slippery slope to ruin. The EU needs to set up an independent institution to vet fiscal plans of Eurozone governments and apply a sliding scale of sanctions. If the euro is to survive the current decade, Greece cannot happen again.
Daniel Gros, Thomas Mayer, Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The European Stabilisation Mechanism is a major initiative, but is it enough? This column argues that more is needed. All EU bank supervisors should conduct stress tests to gauge their banks’ exposure to risky sovereign debt; those who fail should be re-capitalised or closed to ring-fence the problem. The ‘Mechanism’ should also be transformed into an institution that manages the Eurozone’s rescue contributions, supervises conditionality, and sets up mechanisms for orderly debt rescheduling should austerity programmes fail.
Giancarlo Corsetti, Sunday, May 9, 2010
Eurozone membership seemed to shield economies with structural problems from the “original sin” – the obligation to borrow in foreign currency while the ability to pay is in domestic currency. This column argues that the sin is still with Greece and other Eurozone nations with weak institutions. Reforms that boost the nation’s competitiveness or the government’s fiscal positions reduce short-term government revenue directly or via a recession. Solving the problem will require coordinated Eurozone intervention to correct internal imbalances
Barry Eichengreen, Friday, May 7, 2010
EU and IMF efforts to rescue Greece have failed to stabilise Europe's financial markets. Now there are significant concerns about Spain and Portugal's financial circumstances. This column says Europe needs to wake up, face the facts, and take action. It outlines what the IMF, ECB, and Eurozone members need to do to prevent the crisis from spreading. It may be too late for Greece, but it is not too late for Europe.