Business World

Friday 15 December 2017

Greek crisis spreading ‘like Ebola’: OECD

Brian Parkin and David Tweed

Germany and fellow euro-area countries must act now to stop the Greek debt crisis that’s spreading "like Ebola," Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Secretary General Angel Gurria said.

“It’s not a question of the danger of contagion; contagion has already happened,” Gurria said in an interview with Bloomberg television in Berlin today.

“This is like Ebola. When you realise you have it you have to cut your leg off in order to survive.”

Like Ebola, which the World Health Organization calls “one of the most virulent viral diseases known to humankind,” the Greek crisis is “contaminating all the spreads and distorting all the risk-assessment measures,” Gurria said.

“It’s threatening the stability of the financial system.”

Gurria is in Berlin to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel after credit-rating downgrades of Greece and Portugal triggered concern about sovereign defaults, sending stocks tumbling.

Gurria said he’ll tell Merkel, who has refused to rush German approval of aid for Greece, that whatever action is taken “has to be done now, has to be done very fast.” Merkel is scheduled to make a press statement today.

“Money has to be on the table, large enough to have any relationship with not just the immediate maturities of the Greek debt but also in six-month, one-year horizon,” Gurria said.

“We have to give a vision and scope that is larger and we have to give a solution that is longer than the immediate maturities.”


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