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Financial Times: Optimism About an End to the Euro Crisis Is Wrong

Author: Wolfgang Münchau
October 27, 2013


"In a monetary union, adjustment is hard without any transfers and without a fiscal union. I know of no plausible plan how the eurozone can manage the dual feat of economic adjustment and debt sustainability within the straitjacket of official policy. And as long as such a plan does not exist, the crisis is not over."

Adjustment is the key to ending the eurozone crisis. The optimists are saying that this process of regaining competitiveness is now taking place. Look at the success of the Spanish export sector or the fall in Greek wages. And, in any case, the eurozone economy is rebounding, which helps further.

This judgment is profoundly wrong. It is true that the crisis countries have brought down their current account deficits. Italy and Spain are now running surpluses. Since Germany and the Netherlands have not brought down their current account surpluses, the eurozone as a whole has moved from an almost balanced current account in 2009 to a surplus this year of 2.3 per cent of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund's most recent estimates. The IMF puts the 2014 current account surplus at 2.5 per cent. In other words, the eurozone is adjusting at the expense of the rest of the world.

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