Eurozone Crisis

Greeks who don't like the sounds coming out of Brussels might take a tip from the men who sailed with Ulysses -- stick wax in their ears. Some ancient themes resurface as the Eurozone crisis unravels.



Part Two of The Current


Eurozone Crisis

Whether you're nervously watching the global stock markets, or monitoring European politics, the latest developments in the Eurozone crisis are riveting drama. For some, a little too dramatic.

In the end, the Eurozone's heavyweight members, Germany and France, strong-armed Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou into retreating from his plan to hold a referendum. Greeks won't vote on whether to accept the austerity measures attached to a bailout package.

Late on Sunday night George Papandreou and Greek opposition leader Antonis Samaras announced the parties have agreed to form a new government. As widely expected, the prime minister will be stepping aside. And the name of the new leader may be announced after more talks to hash out the details. The interim coalition government is expected to last 3-4 months and is meant to get Greece through the bail-out crisis until an election can be held.

On Sunday evening, a government spokesperson said if all goes well, the plan is for the new Greek government to be sworn in and a confidence vote to be held within a week.

The history of modern Europe is often viewed as the tumultuous saga of a dysfunctional, extended family. This story has it all: governments teetering on collapse, heated rhetoric, ultimatums and threats of expulsion and possibly pyrrhic victories.

We heard from Almut Moeller, a European Union expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations. She shared her thoughts on the role Germany plays in this family soap opera ... and Germany's co-parent, France.

So France and Germany are the grown-ups...But what about Greece and Italy?

We heard again from Almut Moeller, with the German Council on Foreign Relations.

We asked a couple of other German analysts about Germany's role in this family drama. Gerd Grozinger is an economist and sociologist at the University of Flensburg in Germany. And before him, Christian Schulz is senior economist at Berenberg Bank in London.

Now, in the past few weeks, another character was reluctantly thrust into a prominent role in the Eurozone plotline ... Italy. We heard from Elsa Fornero, Professor of economics at the University of Turin, preceded by James Walston, associate professor of international relations at the American University of Rome.

But of course, the troubled protagonist in this story has been Greece, and for at least one commentator, the story of the European debt crisis is not so much a soap opera as a Greek tragedy involving a family dynasty and a scapegoat like something out of a drama by Euripides. Nikos Xydakis is a columnist, art critic and editor-in-chief of the Kathimerimi daily newspaper in Greece.

So in essence, Nikos Xydakis is saying Greece is taking the blame for the mistakes and stumbles of Europe's economic powers from the financial crisis of 2008.

David Marsh knows as much about the Eurozone and the alliances, politics and dynamics behind it as just about anyone. He's the co-chairman of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum and the author of The Euro: The Politics of the New Global Currency. He joined us from London.

And since the epic story of the Eurozone crisis unfolds in Greece, it seems fitting to take a more classical look at this economic odyssey. Tim Harford, columnist of the Financial Times and author of Adapt.

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