Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Europe's Fate Still Looms in Davos

Wall Street Journal
January 26, 2011

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou arrived in January 2010 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, pledging that his indebted country would pay its bills and do what it must to avoid a bailout.

What has happened since then would have surprised most of his audience: Greece took a €110 billion ($150 billion) rescue package from other euro-zone governments and the International Monetary Fund. Ireland sought aid, too, to the tune of €67.5 billion. The European Union sought to bolster confidence by assembling a bailout fund with a headline figure of €750 billion.

Even so, the crisis hasn't been contained. Many financial-market analysts think Portugal, with its high debts and slow growth, will be next in line for a bailout package. Then there is Spain, whose economy is almost twice the size of Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined.

Lorenzo Bernaldo de Quirós, of Freemarket International Consulting in Madrid, describes the mood in the financial circles of Spain's capital as being one of "true terror."


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