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Stability in the euro zone will end the opportunities for economic growth of individual states

26 August 2011 / 17:08:28  GRReporter
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The strict control over the internal finances of each country will change the way in which the union functioned so far. Does this mean that after the introduction of the Eurobonds the euro zone will never be the same?

Europe has already done much to tighten the economic control in different countries. There has already been adopted a package of measures called the six pack, which legalized the stricter economic control. There are also European mechanisms ffor financial stability as EFSF and EFSM, and the proposal of France and Germany for a permanent president of the European Council at a European Union level. All these actions represent a closer control of the economic decisions of the euro zone countries.

Do you think that this is enough for the present crisis?

Of course, these actions are not enough, but the introduction of Eurobonds will surely transform the euro area. The powers will need to be balanced through a further consolidation of economic policies and objectives in the different countries. In this sense, it is very important that there are no variations in the goals, both upstream and downstream. The key is to maintain close cooperation in economic policy in both the countries with financial deficits, and in the countries with high primary budget surpluses. Large surpluses could be a sign of high competitiveness and great economic successes at the state level, but at the euro area level they bring imbalance that the new conditions can not take.

The periphery of the area already has a very serious problem with the recession, which affects not only the real income of citizens in the troubled countries, jobs and business opportunities, but inexorably weakens the overall financial and economic situation in these countries. This is a vicious circle in the fight with their external deficits and debts. The euro zone has to create new tools that will prevent these problems, which will inevitably lead to change in the current system.

Europe’s reorganization is inevitable. Should not the European leaders take up these reforms earlier?

The leaders have not anticipated exactly those developments in the Union, but let's not forget that there are many other factors that determine the way of the European economy. European banks also have a problem. Many of them are zombie banks, which are directly affected by what happens on the other side of the Atlantic. The debt crisis in the USA also affects Europe. The weakness of the United States to launch a bolder investment policy is also a problem. It only enhances the problems in the euro zone, which depends on the demand in the USA but also in China - countries where Germany exports.

What do you think will be the developments in Spain and Italy, which are walking on the edge of the capital markets too? Do you consider the possibility that these two countries could be isolated from free financing and what would be the consequences for the monetary union?

Spain is far from a possible debt crisis than Italy. In Spain, the main issue is more about banks, not the level of deficit and debt. In Italy, we have a very large foreign debt reaching € 1.8 billion and most of it is contained inside the country. Moreover, Italy has a very low rate of economic development and the markets noticed that. These two countries are too big to be able to fit in the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). Its assets should double or even triple in order to take over the financing of one of the two countries. If this happens, however, this means that France is threatened to lose its AAA-rating, which inevitably would force the European leaders to introduce the Eurobonds urgently. Then the problems of the euro zone would be much greater and more serious than the debt crisis of Greece. When the interest rates on lending to Italy reach 6% -7%, which is unprofitable, then the only salvation for Europe would be the Eurobonds.

Let's go back to Greece. Do you think the government will manage to reduce the deficit to 7.5% of GDP by the end of 2011, as specified in the agreement for financial aid? What would be the consequences if it does not happen?

This is the goal of the government but the revaluation of the recession made things more difficult. At the beginning of the year, the Troika and the government had calculated that the recession would not exceed 3.8% and now it appears that its value will be close to 5%. This is much more than last year's recession and the measures set out to reduce the deficit in accordance with the initial calculations could now be insufficient to achieve the objectives. The higher value of the recession reduces the opportunities for revenue collection in the state treasury, while increasing the costs in the budget related to social benefits and state funds. Under the new conditions, the deficit target of 7.5% of GDP by the end of the year is very ambitious, but mainly because of the recession, not because of the government’s behaviour.

Do you think that Greece will not receive the next tranche of the aid if it can not reduce the deficit in the period specified in the agreements within the Memorandum for financial aid?

Tags: EconomyMarketsGeorge PagoulatosCrisisEurobondsGreece
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