“We’ll do this,” “we’ll do that,” “we’ll implement this,” and “it’ll solve everything” are some of the things we’ve heard spew out of euro zone officials’ mouths. Do you believe them? What does the rest of the world think?
Thanks to the recently concluded G20 summit this weekend, we were treated to some much-needed insight as to what emerging and other major economies thought about euro zone’s actions.
In a statement after the meeting in Paris over the weekend, leading finance officials from the world’s 20 largest economies expressed their concerns on the euro zone’s plans.
They indicated that they want three main things from the euro zone by this weekend. First, they want to clarify the private sector’s share in the losses resulting from bad Greek debt. Second, they want a clear and comprehensive plan to make sure that European banks have enough capital. And lastly, they want to see contingency plans designed to prevent other nations from being affected by Greece’s debt problems.
In other words, the G20 wants euro zone officials to do more than just “talk the talk.” They’ve got to “walk the walk” as well.
But as with any economic endeavor, the euro zone’s task is not without its dark clouds and silver linings.
Believe me, asking the private sector to shoulder more losses is easier said than done. The proposal to increase the private sector’s share of the load is already being met with protest. After all, investors had already agreed to assume a loss of 21% on Greek bonds back in July.
Some estimates say that Greece will need to cut its debt in half to stabilize its finances, but it’s highly unlikely that investors will eagerly wait in line to get a bigger piece of that pie.
On a more positive note, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and a few other believers trust that the euro zone will finally come up with a resolution now that France and Germany are on board. In the past, these two economic giants had been two of the biggest roadblocks to developing a sound rescue package. Now that they have pledged their support, the euro zone can finally get the ball rolling.
There is no doubt that euro zone officials are under a lot of pressure. After all, the whole world stands to feel the impact of their decisions. They must show the markets that they can contain their debt issues, and they must do it quickly.
If you’re wondering how we should view all of this, I suggest you look at it as another opportunity for the euro zone to prove itself. If euro zone heads can come up with a concrete plan that will satisfy G20 leaders at the European summit this coming Sunday, it could lift investor confidence and revive demand for the euro.
On the other hand, if they fail to come up with a solid strategy, as they’ve done many times in the past, it may cause some to lose hope for the euro zone and push the euro further down.