How many countries in the Euro Zone are facing serious financial problems?
“The last battle: How Europe is wrecking its currency.” Der Spiegel’s cover story this week is a gloomy forecast of the continent’s future. “Governments decide bailout after bailout, but can’t get to grips with the crisis.” European leaders seem “narrow-minded, at odds and overwhelmed” – hence the increasing likelihood of a financial meltdown far worse than the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers’ fall in 2008. Bailing out one state after another will no longer suffice, so the Eurogroup (eurozone finance ministers) are looking into two other options: a general guarantee for individual states’ sovereign bonds underwritten by all the countries in the eurozone, an idea gaining ground in Germany; or the creation of “euro-bonds” jointly issued by all the eurozone countries (and with the same interest rate for every country), an option championed by Italy and Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker. At all events, Germany will have to foot the bill for the eurozone’s past mistakes. But according to Der Spiegel, there’s no telling whether the electorate will swallow that bitter pill.