Greek Debt Poses a Danger to Common Currency
As economic indicators have improved, concern about the financial crisis has abated. But the next big problem could be approaching. Greece's public deficit is skyrocketing and the country may become insolvent. The effect on Europe's common currency could be dire, Spiegel Online reported. Greece has already accumulated a mountain of debt that will be difficult if not impossible to pay off. The government has borrowed more than 110 percent of the country's economic output over the years, and if investors lose confidence in the bonds, a meltdown could happen as early as next year. That's when the government borrowers in Athens will be required to refinance €25 billion worth of debt . But if no buyers can be found for its securities, Greece will have no choice but to declare insolvency -- just as Mexico, Ecuador, Russia and Argentina have done in past decades. This puts Brussels in a predicament. European Union rules preclude the 27-member bloc from lending money to member states to plug holes in their budgets or bridge deficits. And even if there were a way to circumvent this prohibition, the consequences could be disastrous. The lack of concern over budget discipline in countries like Spain, Italy and Ireland would spread like wildfire across the entire continent. The message would be clear: Why save, if others will eventually foot the bill? On the other hand, if Brussels left the Greeks to their own devices, the consequences would also be dire. Confidence in the euro would be shattered, and the union would face a crucial test. What good is a common currency, many would ask, if some of the member states pay their debts while others do not? Read more.