Pigs, Geese And Chickens

One of the potentially most interesting problems of 2010 is how is Europe going to solve the problem with the PIGS? Particularly Greece, the most ailing porker of the lot.

Unemployment there is set to top 20% this year, according to the country's Labour minister Andreas Loverdos, and Greece’s national debt will hit 120% of GDP this year, possibly getting close to 140% by 2012.

Wasn't it Groucho Marx who said that he wouldn't want to join any club that would have him as a member? How the financially stronger nations in Euroland must be wishing that they hadn't been quite so keen to welcome all-comers now.

It seems to me that the Greek government are playing a game of chicken with ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet. How sick do you want us to let the nation get before you send the paramedics in? You can't just let us die.

For all his hard words, Trichet will mount a Greek rescue if it becomes the only way to save the break-up of EMU, that is what most pundits seem to believe. But of course Greece isn't the only patient on the critical list, and if you save one then what's good for the goose & all that means you have to save them all, surely?

That comes bundled with enormous financial and political cost implications, and would certainly be a gigantic millstone around the euro's neck.

Maybe I will book that Spanish villa this summer after all...