The week long surge in borrowing costs finally forced Greece to
formally ask to tap the 45 billion Euro ($60 billion) rescue package provided
by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
The unprecedented move by Greece threatens both the Euroâ€™s
stability and the structure of the European Union. Traders are now asking if Greece gets the money then what about Spain, Portugal
and Ireland.Many feel that these three countries are next
in line for a rescue as debt problems spread across Europe.
Based on current developments, the very existence of the Euro is now being
When the Euro was created a little over 11 years ago, the
founding fathers gave the European Central Bank the power to control interest
rates and fiscal responsibility to the individual countries. The current crisis
has threatened the cohesion of the European Union as many member countries have
turned their back on the sovereign debt problems of struggling member nations.
These â€śsolventâ€ť nations are going to have to be convinced that the Euro is
worth saving by ponying up the funds necessary to save the economies of the
struggling members or risk debt default and the collapse of the Euro.
With the cost to service its debt sky-rocketing everyday,
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou had no choice but to ask for the money.
After reaching unsustainable levels that were destroying the efforts by the
Greek government to cut its budget deficit, Greece had to cave in and make the
request for bailout funding. As of last night, the cost to finance 5-year Greek
credit default swaps soared to 623 basis points before settling at 590 bp after
the rumors of the activation of the rescue plan began to circulate.
Although the Euro rallied in a short-covering rally as news
broke of the bailout, investors still have to be pessimistic about the
viability of the Euro. The main concern at this time is the inability of the
European Union to come up with concrete rules regarding the terms of the
bailout loans. Prior to the bailout proposal put together in haste earlier in
the month, the EU had no such plan. In looking-back, it looks as if that plan
was not designed to strengthen the Euro, but to stem the pace of its decline.
Now that Plan A has failed, the prospects for Plan B do not
look that much better as EU members appear to be making up this plan as they go
along. The trick is going to be trying to convince the solvent EU members that Greece is worth
saving. Furthermore, the EU member are most likely going to have to consider
putting together a plan which also provides aid for Spain, Portugal and Ireland
or any other nation that will need aid. The second part of the equation may be
considering booting all of these struggling nations out of the club since it has
already been proven that despite austere measures to shore up the budget, the
capital markets are really controlling the show.
Traders and investors want clarity at this point. They want
to have a fully understandable mechanism plan in place as soon as possible to
prevent the collapse of the Euro. If history gives us any clues, however, the
EU will drag its feet and fail to live up to its responsibility as a partner. Germany especially will be the biggest hurdle
and the other sovereign nations to overcome. Not only are the Germans against
any kind of bailout plan, but the Greek citizens feel that a bailout will make
them appear weak to the global community. This means that eventually the next
bailout plan will fall squarely in the hands of the International Monetary
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