European DisunionDecember 01, 2011 Posted by: Minh Trang
The European sovereign debt crisis continues to be one of themain headlines throughout 2011. Though the problem wasonce thought to be isolated to Greece and that country’s fiscalineptness, it is clearly much more complicated and widespread.In recent months, the situation has escalated outside ofGreece in both the political and financial arenas. To rein inirresponsible government spending, the European CentralBank (ECB) had required more stringent austerity measuresfor EU members. The austerity proposals, however, have notbeen very popular and political leaders in the region continueto face greater unrest. Most recently, the prime ministers ofGreece and Italy were forced to step down — both lacking theconfidence of their respective parties and the populace.
Unfortunately, the financial discord that started in Greece hasdeeper and more damaging implications. The core of the issueand the major concern is the solidarity of the European Unionand the financial interdependencies of the 17 union members.The fear is not so much over a Greek default of its $300 billiondebt, but the repercussions that event will have on the regionand the global economies. The domino effect has rippledslowly into Italy and Spain, where the 10-year sovereign yieldsof those countries are trading near 7 percent. This compares to 2 percent for the U.S. Treasury, which continues to be aninvestor’s haven for safety. In addition, the euro has fallen fromits high of $1.45 to a current $1.34 against the dollar.
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