Those Evil Speculators!

Sarkozy Says EU Must Back Greece or Jeopardize Euro (Update1)

By John Fraher and Lorenzo Totaro

March 7 (Bloomberg) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the European Union must support Greece or risk destroying the euro as Prime Minister George Papandreou heads for Paris to lobby support for the debt-laden country.

If we created the euro, we cannot let a country fall that is in the eurozone,” said Sarkozy yesterday before a meeting with Papandreou in Paris today. “Otherwise there was no point in creating the euro. We must support Greece because they are making an effort.”

EU leaders have so far refused to give financial aid to Greece and have ordered the government to cut its budget deficit, the EU’s highest, on its own. While Papandreou says steps taken this past week to slash the shortfall warrant more help from the EU, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said yesterday that his country is “not going to write a blank check.”

Papandreou is visiting Berlin, Paris and Washington after his government passed a 4.8 billion euro ($6.5 billion) austerity package on March 5. A poll published in To Vima newspaper today showed 51.9 percent of voters support him even after the cuts, compared with 47.5 percent who don’t.

Sarkozy, who didn’t say financial support would be forthcoming, will meet Papandreou in the Elysee Palace around 6 p.m. local time. They will brief reporters afterwards.

Final Resort?

Papandreou is indicating that Greece may still need financial support and is prepared to turn to the IMF if necessary, calling it a “final resort” on March 3.

That prompted a rebuff from European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet a day later because finance officials fret such a move would signal the EU isn’t capable of solving its own problems. Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti is nevertheless refusing to rule out a role for the IMF in any aid package.

“The IMF should act as a bank” in any rescue, he told reporters in Venice yesterday. “We finance the IMF so it can use the funds around the world. Why not use that capital with the IMF acting as a bank with its know-how?”

Tremonti also said that the EU could issue “eurobonds” or coordinate the sale of euro-denominated government bonds to better counter “financial speculation.”

As Greece calls for more help, Merkel on March 5 turned her focus to restricting the use of derivatives to halt “speculators” from exploiting countries’ budget deficits. Greece has done its work and Europe and the U.S. must now ensure that financial-market speculators aren’t allowed to inflict further damage on Greece or on other countries, she said.

Neighbor’s House

Credit-default swaps, where you insure your neighbor’s house just to destroy it and make money from it, that’s exactly what we have to curb,” Merkel said at a joint press conference in Berlin yesterday with Papandreou.

The Greek prime minister said he will fight to ensure speculators don’t undermine his push to restore order to the country’s economy. It’s unjust and undemocratic that his efforts are being undermined “by some ‘kids’ in New York and elsewhere sitting in front of a computer,” he said yesterday.


Oh those evil speculators!  They bet that spendthrift governments will not get their financial houses in order. 
Angela Merkel and George Papandreou have reached the wrong conclusions.
The problem does not lie with speculators at all, but rather governments that constantly overspend, overpromise and underdeliver services.
There is no excuse for constantly running budget deficits in Western countries.  The problem, in my view, is a socialist mindset where government should constantly "do something" and overproduction of fiat currencies.
Why are speculators "insuring your neighbor's house just to destroy it and make money from it"?
Because the owners of the house are pyromaniacs playing with matches!  Unless the owners reform, the house will burn down eventually.