EU fumbling leaves euro zone seeking credibility

Marcin Grajewski and Erik Kirschbaum, Reuters, 29.04.2010

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The European Union's inability to take quick, firm decisions has exacerbated Greece's debt crisis and increased the risk of contagion to other euro zone countries such as Portugal.

Four months of talks and summits have only just brought the EU to a point where it can release emergency funds to Athens – a degree of indecision that financial markets have exploited and which now threatens Lisbon and possibly others. [...]

"If you look back at the last weeks or months, you have to say there has been a lack of clear leadership," said Janis Emmanouilidis, a senior analyst at the European Policy Center. "That is exactly what markets want. They are able to exploit those insecurities and uncertainties." [...]

As well as highlighting the EU's cumbersome decision-making, the crisis has exposed the lack of foresight that went into the creation of the euro and the process of economic and monetary union that underpins it, analysts say. [...]

"What the current situation shows is that they didn't have the mechanisms for bad weather conditions," said Emmanouilidis.

The fact that euro zone leaders had not thought of that before, or that they weren't able to agree on crisis mechanisms at an earlier stage, underlines the lack of a clear vision, he said.

"The Greek crisis is a credibility crisis and now the euro crisis is a credibility crisis. Whatever you do, whatever you say, you will be doubted, and that makes it so difficult." [...]

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