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A Bridge, but Leading Where?

Ponzi at the European Central Bank.

Feb 13, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 21 • By ANDREW STUTTAFORD
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The next moves will not be straightforward, but, if they want the eurozone to survive in its current form, those who control its destiny will have to reshape it into a cut that will eventually (if they are very lucky) have a chance of fitting all. They will have to make a drastic change of course. They will have to acknowledge that austerity alone is failing and move instead to fiscal union (and a permanent transfer payment regime) buttressed with, to quote IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, a “clear, simple firewall.” This, I’d guess, would have to be a jointly underwritten financing mechanism of a size (2 trillion euros?) that recognizes how prolonged and tricky this process will be.

Whether the voters will go along with all this is an entirely different and very pointed question, but if the eurozone continues to be run as it is now, the LTROs will turn out to be brilliant, necessary bridge financings that lead, ultimately, to nowhere.

Andrew Stuttaford works in the international financial markets and writes frequently about cultural and political issues.

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