Voices from Russia

Sunday, 15 February 2015

“Grexit” Could Cause EU Collapse

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo. Euroised Greece. 2012

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American economist Barry Eichengreen warned that the consequences of a Greek exit from the Eurozone could be devastating, and that the governments of the monetary union are taking the possible repercussions too lightly. In an interview with Die Welt am Sonntag, Eichengreen, UC Berkeley Professor of Economics, said that the consequences “would spread to other countries. When a Portuguese family or Spanish businessperson sees that Euros have been converted into drachmas, they’ll take their money out of their accounts. That could lead to a run on the banks”. Eichengreen continued that this scenario would snowball, “investors would speculate on the next candidate to leave the Eurozone”, thus endangering the entire Euro project. He also thinks that financial markets are also guilty of miscalculation, with share prices giving an overly positive picture. “My experience as an economic historian has taught me that markets always look relaxed, until suddenly… they aren’t. From the banking crisis of 2008 to the emerging markets crises of the 1990s, anybody can take their favourite financial crisis and discover that markets are really not a good crisis indicator. In the run-up to the crash, the players were always too relaxed for too long, and then later fell into a complete panic”. Eichengreen believed that the new Greek government should be given more time, “They should be given some breathing space, which is also in the interests of their creditors. I’d be in favour of tying interest payments on the borrowing to economic growth. Only when the Greek economy grows, should the country pay interest, otherwise the payments will simply be deferred. The Euro is of great symbolic and geostrategic worth for Europe”. He added that such an eventuality on the economic front would also have consequences for the West in terms of the European geostrategic situation. He observed, “The West hardly wants Russia to be able to position itself as a saviour, and become involved”, adding that this would have “dramatic consequences” for NATO.

15 February 2015

Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/europe/20150215/1018299307.html

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