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European Central Bank
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The world was able to breathe a sigh of relief after last week's elections in Greece, as it looks as if Athens will try to keep the country's membership in the eurozone. But it won't be easy. Once the internal politics are settled and the new government is formed, leaders of the coalition government will inherit an economy in severe recession and the largest debt burden of any country in Europe.
Assume you are a skilled heart surgeon and your patient needs a new heart valve, but you were given a spoon rather than a scalpel to cut open a chest. Relying on the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB) to cure the lack of job growth is going to be no more effective than giving a heart surgeon a spoon.
Time is running out for Europe. As Spain's banking crisis deepens, politicians on the continent remain in denial. The only solutions in their mind involve borrowing or subsidies from German taxpayers. With the International Monetary Fund (IMF) acting as their enabler, Europe's high-debt countries may be able to put off the required reforms, but delaying the inevitable is taking a toll on their economies.
The euro was introduced as part of the Stability and Growth Pact of 1999, which also prescribed clear fiscal guidelines for member nations to limit public debts and deficits, and ensure the economic stability needed for the European Central Bank's conduct of a common European monetary policy.
The setup of the 17-country euro currency union is unsustainable, the head of the European Central Bank has told European Union leaders, warning that they quickly must come up with a broad vision for the future to get the bloc through the current financial crisis.
The European Central Bank would like Greece to stay in the eurozone, its president, Mario Draghi, said Wednesday, amid continued political uncertainty that threatens to force it out of the bloc.
The furious activity in the trading pits of the world's great stock exchanges often gives the feeling that every second is gold dust in the relentless rush to make money. Then all of a sudden it's kickoff time, and everything changes.
The European Central Bank increased the bond purchases that have helped ease pressure on indebted governments from the eurozone debt crisis last week.
After a turbulent 2011, the 17 countries that use the euro will be quickly confronted in the new year with major hurdles to solving their government debt crisis, just as the eurozone economy is expected to sink back into recession.