As leaders meet in Europe, crisis remains largely unchanged

EU commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn speaks at the EU headquarters in Brussels.

Jeremy Hobson: U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner
is in Poland this morning at a meeting with European finance ministers, trying to boost confidence in Europe and its financial system. The news so far is that we'll have to wait until October to find out if Greece will get its next round of bailout money.

For more on this, let's bring in Mark Cliffe. He is chief economist with ING and he's with us now from London. Good morning.

Mark Cliffe: Good morning.

Hobson: I feel like there's a little deja vu quality to this. We start the week talking about everyone losing confidence in Europe and its banking system. We end the week with a big meeting and all the leaders saying everything's going to be fine. Is it different this time?

Cliffe: Not really, no, unfortunately. I think we're going to see this saga running and running. There's a lot of ideas floating around, but there's not really a unity of purpose or, indeed, an agreement on precisely the way forward.

Hobson: There's been a lot of talk about Greece potentially having to leave because it's just too much of a drag on the rest of Europe. Do you think that Europe is going to look the same a year from now as it does today?

Cliffe: I think that's pretty unlikely. Obviously there's a lot of speculation about the inevitability of default in Greece, and indeed the possibility of other countries defaulting. And even some countries leaving the euro zone entirely. I think we will probably see some kind of managed default at some point, but I think it's extremely unlikely that any country will be allowed to leave because the consequences are well, extremely unpalatable. And I think in the end the politicians will find some way of avoiding that. But this isn't going to happen quickly.

Hobson: Mark Cliffe is chief economist with ING. Thanks so much for joining us.

Cliffe: Thank you.

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