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May 8, 2010 | 22:23 GMT

3 mins read

The Eurozone: Looking For Solutions

After an all-night meeting on the Greek debt and eurozone crisis, the eurozone members have preliminarily announced an emergency fund in an attempt to prevent the crisis from deepening. So far there are no details on the size or scope of the emergency fund. All that has been released is that the EU's central authorities will gain the ability to issue bonds to pay for currency protection programs, or bailouts. Supposedly, such debt will be guaranteed by eurozone members, but there are no details as yet as to how such debt would be paid back. The EU has no independent fund-raising capacities, suggesting that this is somewhat akin to cosigning for an open line of credit for a college student with no independent income. We assume that is not precisely what they have in mind — in addition to being fiscally…questionable, the eurozone countries have already put forward all of the spare cash they will likely be able to independently generate for the next several months to pay for Greece's bailout thus far — but we are waiting along with everyone else to see what the real deal is. It is highly likely that there will be some sort of an implied role in the process for the European Central Bank. Full details of the plan will be announced just before the Asian markets open Sunday May 9. What we can say is that the Europeans do seem to be moving toward a plan with considerable speed, and we are not referring just to this emergency summit. European summits that run into the early morning hours are commonplace — one downside of a "consensus-based" governing system — but something else happened Saturday May 8 that is unprecedented. Germany's constitutional court rejected a case asserting that the Greek bailout announced just a few days ago was unconstitutional. It is not so much that the court rejected the case, but that it rejected it so quickly. The case was only filed last week, and the court rejected a temporary injunction that would have blocked the bailout May 8 so that Berlin would have the needed legal cover to move immediately on this new crisis fund. Normally EU policy is hashed out over years. Now it is being done in hours, and Berlin is taking charge. Something big is coming, and something big needs to come considering the scope of problems that the Greek crisis has imposed. The Greek crisis is clearly spreading to other eurozone members. Investors are beginning to shed the debt of a host of other eurozone states, Spain most notably, and unlike tiny Greece, there is no financial force in Europe — or the world — that can possibly bail out these larger states. The Greek bailout has not been sufficient to calm the markets. There is also fear — whether grounded in reality or not — that Europe's problems could also spread to the United States and other global markets. If the European Union — normally known for expansive, poorly enforced legalisms — is going to sequester the damage, it needs to do it fast. The EU is not known for speed, which is why a fast solution would be unprecedented in and of itself. And that may be exactly what Berlin and other eurozone capitals are thinking, that shocking the markets at this point is no longer about money, but rather the scope and speed of a European response.

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