20100511 bond info europe 18
A TV screen displaying information on Greece, Portugal and Spain's government bonds in a street of Paris. - 


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: European leaders meet at a special summit today on the future of the Europe's finances. They're hoping to draw up plans to avoid a repeat of the Greek debt crisis. Those leaders are also trying to learn some lessons from the United States.

From London, here's Marketplace's Europe correspondent Stephen Beard.

STEPHEN BEARD: Among the ideas under discussion today: what about a heavy fine on any of the 16 eurozone member states that borrows too much? Or how about punishing reckless eurozone countries by depriving them of a vote at summit meetings? Skeptics say even these radical solutions won't work. Just look at the U.S.: 50 states operating as the world's biggest currency union. Unlike the U.S. though, Europe is not one country. And therefore it doesn't have a freeflow of cash or labor between its richer and its poorer regions. Andrew Hilton of the CSFI think tank:

ANDREW HILTON: Different educational systems, different cultures, everything from different menus in the restaurants stop people from moving from one country to another. And really mean that there are 16 different countries within the eurozone.

And he says while Californians may be prepared to bale out Nevada, the Germans will always be rather loathe to help the Greeks, the Portuguese, or any other country in the eurozone. In London this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.