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European debt crisis reaches pivotal moment

People pass a pizzeria selling pizzas for one euro on the eve of the Spanish general elections on November 19, 2011 in the center of Madrid, Spain.

Jeremy Hobson: European leaders are thinking big this week -- about solutions to the debt crisis. They're talking about blowing up the treaty that formed the monetary union. Or maybe creating a fiscal union to enforce tighter budgets across Europe. Meanwhile the day-to-day realities of the crisis continue. And this week, that means countries like France, Italy, Belgium and Spain asking investors to lend them more cash.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: Debt lies at the heart of the eurozone crisis. First, Greece was the problem: investors began fretting about whether the Greeks would be able to pay back their debts. And then, a more worrying question: what if other nations that use the euro -- Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Spain -- what if they got into trouble too? Fear of default spread through the market; investors shied away from these countries. Last week, the ultimate shock: Germany failed to borrow all the money it wanted.

Steve Barrow of Standard Bank says everyone will be watching this week's events closely.

Steve Barrow: If we were to see -- for instance -- similar results in Italy, or Spain, or France this week, then I think this crisis will escalate still further.

And the eventual endgame could be messy, with several governments defaulting, and the euro itself disintegrating.

In London, I'm Stephen Beard, for Marketplace.

 

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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