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Monday, October 24, 2011

Doom, Gloom and a dash of slapstick: Commentariat responds to EU summit

And it is said that the British press is exceptionally cynical…

On his Coulisses de Bruxelles blog, French journalist Jean Quatremer argues, “The eurozone makes one think of that cartoon where Wile E. Coyote chases Road Runner: it continues to run above the vacuum and it’s only when it realises it, that it will fall down.”

In the New York Times, Paul Krugman writes: “If it weren't so tragic, the current European crisis would be funny, in a gallows-humor sort of way. For as one rescue plan after another falls flat, Europe's Very Serious People - who are, if such a thing is possible, even more pompous and self-regarding than their American counterparts - just keep looking more and more ridiculous… at this point, Greece, where the crisis began, is no more than a grim sideshow. The clear and present danger comes instead from a sort of bank run on Italy, the euro area's third-largest economy. Investors, fearing a possible default, are demanding high interest rates on Italian debt. And these high interest rates, by raising the burden of debt service, make default more likely. It's a vicious circle, with fears of default threatening to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

In the FT, Wolfgang Münchau writes, “It is time to prepare for the unthinkable: there is now a significant probability the euro will not survive in its current form. This is not because I am predicting the failure by European leaders to agree a deal. In fact, I believe they will. My concern is not about failure to agree, but the consequences of an agreement.”

Writing in La Repubblica, Italian economist Tito Boeri notes, “It was supposed to be the weekend of the rescue of the euro and the entire European construction. Instead, it will be remembered for Sarkozy’s sarcastic smiles during the closing press conference, when he was asked about the commitments made by our Prime Minister.”

Italian daily La Stampa’s Editor in Chief Mario Calabresi argues, “It’s annoying to be put under tutelage, to be citizens of a state whose sovereignty is limited and whose agenda for reform is dictated by foreign leaders who allow us three days to give answers…It’s humiliating to hear that Europe puts us on the same level as Greece.”

On the frontpage of FAZ, Holger Steltzner argues that: “Italian industry is strong, but politicians are weak. Italy could quickly gain international competitiveness and economic growth, if it only wanted to."

In Süuddeutsche, Cerstin Gammelin writes that this weekend, European leaders had “for the first time risked looking into the mirror of truth, and that what they saw exceeded all negative expectations…regardless of how much money will be mobilised [by the EFSF], it will not save the euro. It will just be a matter of buying time to solve the fundamental problems.”

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