Sunday 25 February 2018

Euro-crisis flames burning at our door

WE are in the same position as a man whose house is in flames but knows that the fire brigade will only turn up when the block of flats down the road catches alight as well. This week, the flames that have torched Ireland, Greece and Portugal began to lick around Italy and Spain. The fire engine's siren is wailing and some sort of rescue operation is heading our way but it would be premature, and a little caddish, to cheer too loudly.

Even as we see our own bonds downgraded to junk status, the main concern in Brussels will be to save Italy and Spain. That we could be saved in the process is hardly a consolation.

The inability of Europe to make a good stab at solving the crisis is worrying. It is three years since the crisis first became apparent to even the most blinkered leaders and more than four years since liquidity problems arose in some of the continent's biggest banks. World wars have been fought in less time than it has taken our leaders to devise a convincing response.

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