So the true test of this Brussels summit and the inevitable next one, as well as the G20 in November, is not, perhaps, whether they free Europe from its troubles in one mighty bound. It is, rather, whether the measures emerging from all this tortuous process can sufficiently minimise and contain the impact of the explosion of over-accumulated debt on economic activity and growth across Europe. That's why yesterday's latest effort to Europeanise the Greek debt write-off matters. It's why the Europeanisation of bank recapitalisation matters. And, most important of all, it is why the strengthening of the EFSF bailout fund matters so much too. The test of the summit is whether it enables Europe to take the punishment and remain standing. Muddling through may not seem much of an achievement. But, if it works, it is a lot better than a heroic disaster.Well, yes but ... What if there is a tsunami on the way? Is it not time to erect a powerful sea-wall, rather than simply moving a few metres up the beach and hoping that the tidal wave will die down a bit?
27 October 2011
I might have some sympathy with this Guardian editorial: