The European Central Bank (ECB) faces a tougher task.
“Kicking the can down the road is a reality. The ECB, Fed and Bank of England know all of the issues and they will provide facilities if they need to. If there is a risk-off event, they will act and I think markets feel a lot more comfortable about that.”
They seek ways of preventing Greece from sovereign- debt default and withdrawing from Europe’s currency union. Such moves would cause widespread turmoil. The re-introduced drachma would be worth a fraction of the euro and would not be likely to compensate debtors. Businesses would get scant credit from international banks and the benefit that a cheap currency could bring Greek exporters would be undermined by an increase in wages and inflation to compensate for the loss of value from the euro to drachma.
The rest of Europe would suffer immediate losses: creditor governments, banks and companies would be paid fully or part in drachmas. Taxpayers would face losses on €300 billion in lending programs to Greece made through the ECB, national central banks and EU lending programs, according to Bloomberg. The risk of bank runs across the region, and the exit of other debt-troubled eurozone countries such as Portugal and Spain, would also need to be managed.
|Whether the Greek people like it or not, going back to the drachma would undermine the country.|
“The pain and suffering that it would cause the world is so much worse than what we’re going through at the moment,” Farrell says. “Whether the Greek people like it or not, going back to the drachma would undermine the country.”
Despite Hollande’s popular anti-austerity arguments, the French president must act in the interests of the region rather than his electorate.
“There has been a lot of banter and chest-beating. But at the end of the day he’s not necessarily going to have a choice. It’s going to be how we support the euro going forward and build these economies with a regional focus as opposed to only a French focus.
“Unfortunately you need pain to get people to sit around a table, you need a common cause for people to negotiate and actually come up with a plan.
“I just don’t think there’s a situation that Europe could face that would cause an entire break-up” of the currency bloc, Farrell says. “There would have to be such a significant rift between Germany and France in particular that would see us increase the probability of a euro collapse.”