January 27th, 2012
02:44 AM GMT
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Davos, Switzerland (CNN) - To hear the European leaders in Davos you would think the eurozone crisis had only just occurred and there was an urgency to deal with it hitherto unforeseen.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and European economics commissioner Olli Rehn -– just about any leader in Davos - is now saying that time is of the essence –- that it is time to actually sort out the eurozone's problems. Forgive me. What on earth have the European leaders been doing and promising over the past three years?

Map: Europe in crisis

It is strange that now as we enter a new year they believe 2012 is the right moment to actually take the necessary decisions and implement the changes. And yet they were saying similar things in 2011, in Davos. So it is entirely understandable if we are now skeptical that they have the willpower and ability to put things right.

The rest of the world is furious with the Europeans and are now letting them know in no uncertain terms. Canada’s finance minister is frustrated. Juan Somavia of the ILO is furious. Viviane Reding of the Commission agrees it's time to act. Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Bob Diamond of Barclays… so on and so on. Everyone says it's time to get on with it.

So what’s stopping them? The usual rhetoric of 27 national governments, different agendas and a load of hot air.

Nothing has changed in the reasoning since last year except the European dithering has made a bad situation worse.

I suppose we should be grateful for small mercies that at last the leaders are saying “now is the time." But before I put any money on their success, I want to see them act.

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. 80sAllen

    Yes, and yet the Euro continues to climb as if all is well? Let us not forget the catalyst which precipitated this domino effect: U.S. derivatives (mortgage backed securities). Although the EU/Eurozone governments were complicit by way of large fiscal budget deficits and forward carrying (or accruing) long-term debt, we also have to acknowledge that most of these countries have similar or (should I say it) less debt than the U.S. (by way of debt to GDP ratios). Was the whole loosey-goosey structure of the EU too decentralized from the outset? Yes. Was a lack of centralized national budgetary controls a bad omission? Yes. We can fault a lot about the EU and the initial foundation upon which the whole house was built, but we also have to look further to the west for that little (big) "push" it needed to bring the house crumbling down. Although they are moving at a snail's pace (actually I believe the slug has already won the race), I suspect they only get one more chance to fix the entire car before they can resume the global race. So, that being said, we have to give them the time they "need" to get the transmission's gears put back in, otherwise, we'll be here again in the very near future. Meanwhile, can someone tell the rest of the world that, the Euro is not worth USD 1.31? I have a vacation coming up this year and hate overpaying. :D

    January 27, 2012 at 4:24 am |
  2. Ms. Josia Nakash

    The leaders of the Eurozone have not yet realized that they no longer have time for PR.

    The sooner politicians and economists learn that the world is completely interdependent, the greater chance we have of overcoming the global crisis or Eurogeddon peacefully. In the meantime, each leader only cares about him/herself, and are blinded by their own egoism without yet realizing our total interdependence.

    The time has come for governments to revise their outlook of the situation and draw conclusions: We must bring ourselves to full integration, to a society of reasonable consumption, and to raise everyone to the level of a decent existence. This can be achieved through a new integral education and upbringing. We need to gradually build a system of virtual learning and make participation in the new integral education a condition for receiving salaries or benefits. This is the only way to appease an increasingly frustrated population.

    But since political programs can take years to implement, I am looking forward to the major corporations stepping up and realizing that current Corporate Social Responsibility programs are missing a key element. Leading corporations like Coca-Cola need to feature new messages right on items we use every day. They could make these changes tomorrow morning.

    The bottom line is – nothing can be changed with the current tools. So we can sit around blaming this leader or that region, or we can try to generate genuine and significant social changes right now.

    This crisis is really about broken human relations. We need to fix that urgently because the failing economy is simply a reflection of the failing social system we all belong to. Now is the time.

    January 27, 2012 at 4:29 am |
  3. whatever1234

    Time will prove that the EU leaders were right to try austerity first before QEing the heck out of the eurozone.

    Banks and investment houses just want the euro to inflate so that they can get back something their investments. All they want is a cut-and-run job. Not so fast. The eurozone has two problems: sovereign debt and decade-old bad fiscal habits of poorly-performing economies.

    Reform doesn't just mean rapidly inflating a currency, as the Americans and British have done. QE is just a mask for systemic economic and fiscal problems. If the ECB were to sign off on massive sovereign debt purchases, there'd be no incentive for programs to radically change the fiscal and economic policies of peripheral governments. FIscal union combined with better fiscal stability for the periphery will take time. The same investors who got the US in a bind in the first place are just going to have to wait for the euro to stabilize and strengthen. The ECB shouldn't be at the call of investors.

    January 27, 2012 at 5:16 am |
  4. Floyd Burgoz

    Tricky way of the rich pushing people into believing that they need more austerity.

    January 27, 2012 at 6:01 am |
  5. Carl van Zijll de Jong

    As with many of our problem solving, we always try to resolve the symptoms rather than the cause. The cause of our economic upheaval is the violation of the “Laws of Economics”. Until we adhere to what the Laws of Economics dictates us, we only go deeper into the bottomless pit. For your information Google “The World Monetary Order”.

    January 27, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  6. Mangjess

    Richard Quest is right, We need action – from politicians who cater to voters and business firms who are waiting for profitable opportunities, at the right time. The crisis helps but it is happening too fast. Other regions are waiting for Europe to fail perhaps not fully understanding that we are all in this together!

    January 27, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  7. High IQ society

    The EU will now do what it should have been doing which is to take care of itself and not worry about finance and economics. Most of Europe was built BEFORE oil. Most of Europe can happily survive on a subsistance lifestyle. Sure, Europe created modern luxuries mostly because it needed them and There was never the intetion throughout Europe to capitalise on everything and exploit every other country on Earth. Sure Europeans discovered the world and USA can thank them for that !!! The EU is constantly held to account and the church constantly accused of ever ill on earth so now it is right that the EU stands alone and nurtures its own backyard without the heavy hand of Britain and USA dominating it's own thought processes. Least of all the Eu has never gained ANYTHING from USA and Britain. its always been the other way around !!! Cameron is just trying to explioit the EU as usual .. and thankfully most of the EU has switched off and no longer cares to listen. There is no more Hitlers now either so GO AWAY !!! let Europeans live in peace for a change.

    January 27, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  8. george argiriou


    January 27, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  9. george argiriou


    January 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  10. desert voice

    Let's forget "our nature" and fix the problems globally. The concept of "fixing Europe" without "fixing America" and "fixing China" is an oxymoron in the present world. We need a world team to solve this crisis! It needs to be empowered to impose its will on Governments and Politburos! It needs to contain the cream of the cream of human intellect. It needs to be above Politics! It needs to incorporate the leaders of all world religions. It needs to be put in place and Act Now!

    January 28, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  11. Franz Hinterkörner

    If this mantra chorus of critics continues, its contents will be less and less heard by continental Europe, particularly if it comes from politicians who themselves are not capable of fixing their own country's debt problem. For almost 3 years now I read that the EURO/eurozone is doomed. While I concede that initial flaws of the Eurozone construction have to be corrected, I am convinced that the eurozone will come out of the crisis with renewed strength.

    January 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  12. icon collection

    I apologise, that I can help nothing. I hope, to you here will help.

    October 9, 2012 at 10:48 am |

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