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    Which EU?

    Fatih Özatay, PhD09 May 2010 - Okunma Sayısı: 866

     

    For a while how I have been writing a series of commentaries with the theme 'in the last two crises'. I will continue with this series. But I am not sure what the 'last two' refer to anymore.  Are they the 2001 crisis and the global crisis as was used in the previous commentaries or are they the 'old' global crisis the 'new' global crisis? In fact, there probably is no old and new; they are most likely continuous. Thanks to the great and genius leaders of EU who did/could not make any decision for months and 'managed' to put the global system into trouble, we are now lucky to have the opportunity to chit-chat about this issue.

    This is not the only reason for our appreciation to EU leaders. We, the economists of emerging market economies, which suffered from the unfair decisions of credit rating agencies for years but could not make themselves understood, had a lifetime of fun thanks to them. Of course contingency poses the risk to turn the fun into a nightmare. But we need to take this opportunity at least for now. Taking departure from this need, I took a shot to use this opportunity at the dinner event held after a conference in Madrid on Tuesday. I chatted a while with a diplomat from one leading EU country. The diplomat was righteously complaining about credit rating agencies adding fuel to flames. On that Tuesday European stock exchanges were on a sharp fall due to the speculations about Spain. And the speculations were unjust: as far as he was concerned, Spain's economy was quite sound. In response, I gave information about the macroeconomic indicators of Turkey, which he already knew, and stated that Turkey is in an incomparably better state than Greece. The question was why Turkey's credit rating was lower than that of Greece which is about to sink.

    Following this prologue, I asked why the EU acted passively by not allowing Greece to sign a deal with the IMF earlier. I also asked what the thought about the single monetary policy multiple fiscal policy controversy and the future of euro in this context. In addition I mentioned to what extent the fact that interest rate on the credit extended to Greece is much higher than that on German treasury bills is consistent with the 'bailout' discourse. Given the street protests, what would happen if Greece failed to implement the announced economic program? Would the country leave the Eurozone? Which would go next? Would not this lead to the collapse of Euro? Or would Germany leave the Eurozone and leave the others alone? By the way, I was in Madrid to talk about the general state of Turkey's economy in a meeting on Turkey-EU relations held by Term Presidency of Spain.

    In similar meetings in the past I used to answer the questions as to whether Turkey will become an EU member like "What matters is the process and the reforms to be introduced throughout the process. What happens at the end of the way is not that important." This time no one asked this question. If someone did, things would turn very funny.  Because I would most probably respond: "Which EU we are talking about?" Are we talking about the EU which does not have the willpower to decide for operation while some members are bleeding to death in the ER? Or is it the EU which failed to realize that those members were bleeding to death for years? Or the EU which commanded with rules that the members shall not bleed but failed to supervise the compliance with the rules? Seriously, which EU are we talking about?

     

    This commentary was published in Radikal daily on 09.05.2010

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