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George Soros Is Right, the Euro May Be Doomed

The chair of the Eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker believes the European Union may have to establish a mechanism to help out countries with financing problems in the wake of the Greek rescue package.

Euro bills at teller window
AP
Euro bills at teller window

Finance ministers from across the region maintain that the very idea of a break-up of the euro is absurd and that the Greek plan is credible.

But as the market continues to question the IMF/EU rescue package and the long-term viability of the Greek economy, many are beginning to wonder if the euro can survive.

In an interview with Corriere della Sera, George Soros said that unless Germany agrees to play its traditional leadership role in Europe and makes concessions to other members of the euro zone, the single currency itself could be at risk.

"The Germans have always made the concessions needed to advance the European Union, when people were looking for a deal. Not any more. That's why the European project is stalled," Soros said.

"And if it can't go ahead from here, it will go backwards. It's important to understand that if you don't make the next steps forward for the euro, the euro will go to pieces and the European Union too," he added.

Now George Soros is the man who made a billion betting against pound when it was ejected from the euro's waiting room, the Exchange Rate Mechanism, in 1992 and it must be remember he is an investor with a position. But Soros is not alone in believing the great euro experiment is now in serious danger.

Economists at Morgan Stanley believe that while the rescue package for Greece removes short-term liquidity risks, “long-term solvency risks remain firmly in place."

"More broadly, and more worryingly, recent developments significantly raise the (long-term) risk of a euro break-up, in our view," they wrote in a note.

"The bail-out and the ECB’s softer collateral stance set a bad precedent for other euro area member states and make it more likely that the euro area degenerates into a zone of fiscal profligacy, currency weakness and higher inflationary pressures over time,” they added.

Now a lot has been made of the constitutional problems a break-up of the euro zone would need to overcome. But laws are there to be changed and it must be remembered that the EU could not even enforce the stability and growth pact in the good times, let alone when things got tough after the credit crisis.

Morgan Stanley as a result concludes there is now a very real chance of both the euro and the EU falling apart.

“Countries with a high preference for price stability, such as Germany, might conclude that they would be better off with a harder but smaller currency union," they wrote.

"And because the Maastricht Treaty does not provide for the possibility of expelling euro area members, the only way Germany could achieve this would be by leaving the euro to introduce a stronger currency,” Morgan Stanley concluded.

Contact Europe: Economy

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