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Tag Archives: European Financial Stability Facility

Since last weekend’s eurozone “grand summit”, the headlines have been positive and, in the official photos anyway, the main players appear to be smiling. As such, the global equity rally goes on. Behind the rictus grins, though, the gloves remain off, the rhetorical daggers still drawn. Having launched the biggest sovereign debt restructuring in history, Athens now faces the Herculean task of persuading holders of Greek bonds to accept a “voluntary” hair-cut.

Creditors are being asked to swap their bonds for a combination of new short-term instruments, issued by the European Financial Stability Facility, and longer-term Greek government debt. If half of them agree to take the hit then, under “collective action clauses” approved by the Greek Parliament, the deal could be forced on all bond-holders.
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European debt and equity markets ended a tumultuous week with a rally on Friday. So shares in the US and across the rest of the world rose too. But the threat of a “euroquake” – a systemic collapse which would make Lehman Brothers look tame – is by no means over. Far from it.

Europe’s leaders don’t know how to solve this crisis because they don’t know what they want. Should attempts be made to hold the eurozone together, with Greece staying in? Or should the threat to expel Athens be followed through, at the risk of causing further defections, with monetary union being reduced to a Franco-German rump? This is an enormous question, which only Germany can answer. Until an answer is forthcoming, chaos will continue to ensue.
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