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What's up, Europe? Greece, Spain and the fiscal cliff

100 euro and 100 dollar bills. Fiscal cliff drama is playing out on American airwaves, but are Europeans paying attention?

In the U.S., drama surrounding the fiscal cliff has played out in the media. Do people in Europe care? Yanni Palaiologos writes about the European economy and he says Greeks may have heard about the fiscal cliff, but few people could tell you what it is. Meanwhile, journalist Miguel-Anxo Murado says Spaniards are paying attention.

"[Spaniards] do care -- not just because of the concern about the effect that the fiscal cliff may have on the Spanish economy. But apart from that, there was also a lot of interest in the politics of it -- of the inner workings of the American system, which is so different from our mutli-party system in which you don't have this grand bargaining or bipartisanship. These things have been explained in detail, not least because people were baffled by the whole thing," says Murado. "It's been sort of a cliff hanger, if I may say, in a way that Washington, D.C. seems to have a gift for drama."

Palaiologos says Greece has been going through successive fiscal cliffs for three years now. And with Greece entering another year of recession, he offers this advice for Congress: find a solution that will prevent automatic cuts and tax raises. He says the upcoming year in Greece will be tough.

"The only hope -- and there's been some optimism the last few weeks of this year -- is that this catastrophic discussion about us staying in the euro or leaving the euro is going to stop. So maybe some investment will come in and some jobs will begin to be created and the long slide will begin to be reversed," says Palaiologos.

Meanwhile, Murado says the one hopeful sign that he can see in Spain for 2013 is that the government hasn't asked for a full bailout yet.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk.

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