Friday 19 January 2018

EU leaders have to seal a deal now

Today's summit of European leaders is the 15th since the euro debt crisis first erupted two years ago. After each summit the leaders triumphantly announced "agreements" that were long on aspiration but desperately short on concrete action.

By repeatedly postponing decisive action, Europe's leaders ensured that the crisis got progressively worse. What was initially a manageable fiscal crisis on the eurozone periphery has now evolved into a banking crisis at its core that, unless dealt with quickly, threatens the very existence of the single currency.

At first the markets were inclined to give Europe's leaders the benefit of the doubt. In the early days of the crisis, investors only began to subject their agreements to rigorous analysis after a few months. However, having seen Europe's leaders repeatedly coming up short in their handling of the crisis, the markets have grown increasingly impatient.

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