Eurozone – economics

Published: 2021-06-29 19:00:05
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To certain nations over the years the Eurozone has become burdensome and lead to serious economic turmoil. Greece in the May of 2010 and February 2012, Ireland in November 2010, Portugal in May 2011, Spain in July 2012 and Cyprus in May 2013 were all force to take emergency loans from other Eurozone and EU countries as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in what were referred to as bailouts. When a nation is no longer able to fund their budget deficit at sustainable interest rates on the financial market and may face default the government may ask for a loan. As a result of the loans the nations implement reforms and public sector austerity in order to reduce the budget deficit and increase competitiveness. So what were the reasons behind the numerous examples of economic disorder? When the Euro was established there were 11 nations in the Eurozone, there are now 19. Euro members gave control of monetary policy to the European central bank that decides on the interest rates that should be set for the whole Eurozone. Nations such as Germany with a large economy had weak growth and the European Central Bank set reasonably low interest rates as a result. However, this new rate was too low for some rapidly booming economies like Ireland and Spain and led to the creation of so called housing market bubbles. This deviation from the intrinsic value is partly to blame for the economic difficulty these nations experienced. By surrendering their independent monetary policy and currency, those nations with a high debt could not use certain measures to respond to the crisis that nations like the UK outside of the Eurozone could. Such measures include allowing higher inflation, depreciating the currency and buying up debt to avoid default such as quantitative easing programs whereby buying assets from commercial banks, central banks stimulate the economy. It is this one size fits all policy that proves ineffective and restraining to central banks in nations that have adopted the euro. The costs of such borrowing to nations such as Greece that had higher interest rates than Germany were able to borrow more cheaply than before to attract investment. Private sector borrowing costs fell in correspondence towards the lower levels of Germany and so a government debt was established in nations such as Greece and Portugal and private sector debt in nations like Spain and Ireland. This evidently shows that all of the financial markets of nations in the Eurozone had the same risk of loan default. The financial crisis in 2008 resulted in reconsideration on the investors part and nations with high debt and weaker economies quickly saw the recoil on their borrowing costs which rose sharply. The nations that required bailouts saw their economy’s productivity and competitiveness decline relative to the average in the Eurozone. The effect of this was that nations with higher import rates were not as competitive internationally. This large trading deficit that was established was funded by public and private borrowing which was now cheaper. When the financial crisis walked through the door, borrowing costs rose in these nations and the ability of the countries to repay the debt was questioned and financing it became more expensive. The Euro meant that regaining competitiveness was no longer as simple as devaluing the currency. It is also worth mentioning that once again the Eurozone dominating German economy had accumulated trading surpluses during this crisis by lowering its labor costs and reducing wage growth. This further concretes the theory that common policies may work in the abstract political sense, however once applied to national economies will not benefit all but rather obviously those who affect the legislative process the most. The Euro is already sounding like a bureaucratic idea that was not thought through in one respect and yet a perfect example of an economically authoritarian plan that is working in good order for the legislators (nations with the largest economic status in the Eurozone).

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