Euro’en er som Formel 1

Af: Richard Quest
22. Oct 2011
CNN-profilen Richard Quest har været til Formel 1 i Monaco mens krisen omkring euro’en raser på fuld styrke. Og han ser flere paralleller – og forudser, at euro’ens stabilitet står foran nye trusler, da der er alt for mange passagerer blandt Europas politikere, der hellere vil sidde på bagsædet end bag rattet. Profitable Moment with Richard Quest I spent the past weekend in Monaco watching the Grand Prix. The tiny principality, encircled by France, obviously uses the Euro as its currency. Not that many people here actually get much time to caress the money as it flies out of wallets during the F1 weekend. These little pieces of paper go up in smoke as fast as the racing cars burn gasoline. It set me thinking that the Euro’s recent troubles are very similar to a Formula One race…it all looks under control until trouble strikes. The Euro is starting to look like a car with 16 drivers, all running on different fuels and following individual maps with no one really sure who is at the wheel. You think I am being unfair? It has only been a week since the European Union and IMF put together their trillion dollar plan for Eurozone countries and the markets have now given their verdict. The bailout will prevent attacks on European government bonds, but it will not rescue the single currency (nor has it brought the stability that was intended). The Euro rallied to about $1.30 after the deal was announced. It has since slipped back below the waves with the prospect of further falls ahead. All of this was entirely predictable. As soon as the European Central Bank said it would buy bonds from countries like Greece it put a floor under the Euro debt market. One commentator acidly noted all that has happened is a transfer of debt from countries in southern Europe to the Eurozone as a whole. At the same time the ECB has seen its credibility sink with the currency, as the Bank takes firm policy stances, only to jettison them when the situation deteriorates. For their part, the European political leaders have accompanied this mega-deal with a lot of hot air about consolidation of fiscal imbalances, and greater monitoring of errant countries in the future. It is here that I have serious problems. Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, for whom I have huge respect, was obviously furious at the fiasco. She was very honest on Quest Means Business when she told me how close to collapse the system had come before the rescue. This must not be allowed to happen again she said. She is right. But can the leaders prevent it in the future? I have no doubt that there are the very best of intentions but I am not sure they can prevent a repeat. There were plenty of regulations and Maastricht guidelines for economic policy (they were ignored.) There was no shortage of bureaucrats to keep watch (they were ineffective.) There was a plethora of politicians to offer promises (they were incompetent.) So what are we left with? Saving the currency is one thing. Saving face is another. Mario Monti the former European Commissioner and elder statesman of the European Union told me that European leaders had to become less polite to each other. They have to tell it as it is and if feathers get ruffled, so be it. A new era of openness and honesty has to be the way of doing business in the future. That may only go so far. Really serious questions need to be asked instead about what root and branch changes need to be made. In the Grand Prix of Monte Carlo I saw the sort of precision that takes your breath away. Still, one car hit the wall in the famous tunnel; another’s engine blew up in smoke; and there was a nasty accident when two cars collided leaving debris strewn everywhere. In all, 50 percent of the cars either crashed or limped out of the race. And these people know what they are doing. As the Euro careers around the financial markets with too many back seat drivers and a map that is hopelessly out of date, I can only wonder what the final destination is going to be.
Richard Quest authorimage Quest Means Business sendes hver mandag til fredag kl. 20.00 dansk tid på CNN International med Richard Quest som vært med adgang til en vifte af eksperter og korrespondenter der leverer analyser, tal og nyheder fra alle kroge af finansverdenen. Se mere på CNNs website.
Se desuden "Quest Means Business" mandag-fredag på CNN klokken 20.00
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