Saturday 3 December 2016

Real crisis will come when eurozone realises it cannot bail out a bust Italy

If the euro breaks apart, the catastrophic endgame will be in Rome and not Athens, writes Dan O'Brien from the Italian capital

Published 19/07/2015 | 02:30

Stagnation: Italy has fallen far behind the UK and France in terms of exports over the last 20 years
Stagnation: Italy has fallen far behind the UK and France in terms of exports over the last 20 years

Nobody can doubt the significance of the Greek crisis for the European order as it has existed since the middle of the last century. The damage it has caused - politically, economically and even among the continent's peoples - is huge. The seeming unending nature of the crisis, and the speed at which it continues to evolve, makes it difficult to stand back and put it all in any historical perspective.

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It can, however, be said with a high degree of confidence that if Greece ends up out of the euro, it will be a disaster for Greece and the departure will be a hammer blow to the single currency.

But while Grexit is unlikely to trigger an immediate unravelling of the euro, not least owing to the firewalls that have been put in place over more than half a decade, it would highlight the other weak link economies in the currency, and make those links even weaker by signalling that they too could be pushed out of the euro.

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