Greek debate: Debt crisis turns full circle, so is a Euro exit on the cards?

9th May 2011

The Wall Street Journal reported that Greece is expected to need nearly €30 billion ($43 billion) of extra financing for 2012, according to euro-zone officials.

It added the country's growing reliance on aid from other euro members is fuelling a debate over whether Greece should hold talks with its private creditors about extending the maturity of its bonds, a step that Germany is quietly pushing but other euro nations are resisting.

Euro-zone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels this week and are expected to debate Greece's debt burden, its need for additional aid, and its request for more time to meet its fiscal targets.

Larry Elliott, economics editor at the Guardian linked the crisis to the UK's own economic mess. He wrote: "George Osborne can hardly believe his luck.

"A year ago, the bailout of Greece by the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave the chancellor perfect cover for his deficit-reduction plan. The message was clear: either the UK gets a grip on its public finances immediately or it too will be in the firing line."

He adds that following Osborne's deficit reduction plan : "Consumer confidence, predictably, has collapsed and although many businesses are sitting on piles of cash after cutting costs aggressively during the recession, they are hoarding rather than investing.

To the extent that Britain is like Greece, it is that slower growth is making it harder to get borrowing down. In all other respects, the comparison does not bear scrutiny, not least because the UK is outside the eurozone and thus has the advantage of a floating exchange rate. But Osborne has been able to use the crisis in the eurozone to justify what he has been doing at home, and he was at it again yesterday, combining an avowed reluctance for the UK to be involved in a second Greek bailout with the warning that it would be a disaster should the government backtrack on its deficit-reduction plans now."

In his blog Mindful Money's resident economist Shaun Richards writes that Eurozone taxpayers are now paying the price for the response to the crisis.

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