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Financial Times: Eurozone Calm Belies Brewing Political Storm

Author: Peter Spiegel
July 31, 2013


"Ever since its start, the existential threat to the single currency has mainly come from two separate but related scenarios: a massive bank run by depositors convinced their euros were about to be turned back into drachmas, escudos or pesetas; or Italy losing access to the bond market, making it unable to refinance its massive €2tn debt pile."

Take a quick political stability tour of the eurozone's southern periphery and it would be hard to argue things have ever been worse since the outset of Europe's sovereign debt crisis.

Greece's two mainstream parties are now barely clinging to their governing majority, with extremist parties on the left and right polling a combined 40 per cent. Italy's technocratic government has spent its entire short existence firefighting and seems perpetually on the brink of collapse.

Spain is in the midst of a payola scandal allegedly so vast that it would fell any government in a system without Madrid's iron-fisted party discipline. And Portugal's prime minister is only able to fend off snap elections by giving authority to deal with bailout lenders to the head of his anti-austerity junior coalition partner.

It is a pretty grim survey. And yet, other than a brief wobble at the height of the recent Greek and Portuguese dramas, investors seem to have shrugged it off entirely.

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