More single currency bonding may solve euro woes

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

A single currency banking union for the eurozone is the strategy that might just offer much needed financial stability in Europe.

The problem that underlies the sovereign debt crisis inflicting so much harm across the continent is the single currency has removed the economic tools from governments to tackle the crisis.

The countries that have suffered most – Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy – traditionally had the option of devaluing their currencies to fine tune their economies before joining the single currency.

Now, they have to stand together with the richer eurozone countries who do not want to see their currency devalued by their weaker members.

With devaluation removed from their economic toolkit, the only other options are bail-outs or to quit the eurozone.

Tighter fiscal union and agreeing to let the European Central Bank (ECB) issue eurobonds could be the fillip everyone needs to resolve economic turmoil.

If the ECB is allowed to shift funds around the eurozone with the bonds to shore up weaker members by letting them lean a little more on their richer friends, economic bubbles can be ironed out.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has clearly stated she regards eurobonds would have to come as part of closer banking and fiscal union between single currency states.

The problem is Germany does not want to bear the entire financial burden of the eurozone and wants countries outside the single currency, especially Britain, to share the pain.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is determined that won’t happen and refuses to consider a UK contribution to shore up the euro.

His view is Britain is not a member of the single currency, is not likely to join and that the countries in the group need to sort out their own problems between each other.

“I understand why single currency countries have to look at deeper integration. I will make sure that Britain’s interests, particularly in the single market and the openness and fairness of the single market are protected. That is key for Britain,” he said.

“We want the eurozone to succeed. We want the euro to solve the problems it faces, so that all European economies including ours can get back to healthy growth.”

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