Preserving EMU Depends on Success of ESM in Solving the Debt Crisis
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Publication date: 2012-10-31
GNPJE 2012;259(10):1–22
The paper presents a systemic explanation of the ongoing debt crisis in the European Monetary Union (EMU). The way monetary policy has been conducted in the eurozone as well as ineffective management of both public and private debt created a systemic risk that in 2010 turned into a full-fledged debt crisis. The author’s analysis of past EMU data, official internal and external forecasts and the way that debt negotiations have proceeded yield a number of conclusions. One of these is that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the European Central Bank (ECB) are in a position to stabilize the debt situation for some time if they are flexible in their approach. However, this requires extensive cooperation between peripheral and central countries as well as within these groups. This condition is necessary but not sufficient to stabilize the EMU, the author says. As most of the EMU countries are heavily indebted (a situation that applies to both the public and private sectors), a new system of financial regulations must be hammered out, along with instruments to allow the peripheral countries to grow out of their debt problems. That will not happen without a partial debt reduction and external assistance, the author says, as the heavily indebted economies will not be able to adjust, because of economic as well as political factors. As in all past debt negotiations, conditionality, comparability of treatment and moral hazard problems will play a role, the author concludes.