Europe's debt saga欧洲的债务援助行动
Every which way but solved
A bail-out strategy as bankrupt as Greece should be ditched. It probably won’t be
May 12th 2011 | ATHENS AND LONDON | from the print edition
IF APRIL is the cruellest month for poets, May is the harshest one for European leaders. A year ago they tore up the rule book to bail out Greece and to ward off market attacks on other fiscal reprobates in the euro area. The first anniversary of the rescue mission has been nothing to celebrate. Despite a year of grinding hardship Greece looks ever more likely to have to restructure its debts. The official rescue funds hastily mustered in May 2010 have had to be deployed twice more since then, first to support Ireland late last year, and now to keep Portugal afloat.
The most pressing concern is Greece. The big hitters in the euro area—in particular Germany and the European Central Bank—are squabbling furiously about how to deal with the country’s debt burden. News of a “secret” meeting on May 6th between finance ministers from Greece and its main euro-area creditor states leaked out along with a report that Greece might leave the euro. That claim was strenuously denied. But policymakers seem unable to agree on much else.
The original plan in May 2010 was conceived on the notion that Greece faced an acute but temporary funding problem. A liquidity issue could be addressed by using official lending from the euro area and the IMF of