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Split the Euro?

It would seem Euroland can be divided into two regions. Those with relatively weak economies and lax tax regimes who need the Euro to be strong so they can afford to buy imports and keep borrowing, and those with strong economies who need the Euro to be weak so they can export more. Unfortunately the stronger the economy, the stronger the currency. So Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and eastern European countries are all suffering because the Euro has been been strengthened by the relative economic successes of Germany, France, Holland and others. These countries are relying on the failing economies to keep the Euro weak to help them export.

Clearly this arrangement isn't working for Greece who can see Germany in particular is benefiting, and it isn't working for the UK, the US and others outside the Euro who are competing unfairly with Germany who quote for products and services in devalued Euros.

Why don't they split the Euro into North and South? A N-euro would enable the stronger Northern economies to find a more appropriate FX level while offering more attractive bonds and higher interest rates for savers. A S-euro would immediately find it's own FX level thereby providing a kiss-of-life to those economies who by now would have devalued their currencies to help pay their debts.

If the Euro is kept, then only the South or the North need to adopt the new variant. Perhaps the stronger economies are the ones who can afford to pay for the changes needed for a breakaway Euro. So we end up with a Neuro (not a bad name - sounds clever. Also sounds like NewEuro) and a revalued Euro. Each country chooses which one they want to join, or remain in, having experienced austerity imposition if they fall below the standards set by a central bank.

Would this halfway house solution make the ideals of a single European currency somewhat more practical, albeit meaning two currencies rather than one? It would mean turmoil for a while perhaps. But only 10 years ago, that's what happened when all the national currencies converted to the Euro. At least now the populations who have to change will quickly get the hang of it. Just one letter difference and the people of those nations will either be delighted that they're no longer supporting zombie economies or delighted they're not being told what to do by 'bullying' neighbours. Yet anyway.

Of course it doesn't get away from the flawed concept of countries sharing currencies, while not sharing tax and other fiduciary laws. But it might help to sort out the current mess. For a while... or until similar splits are again needed to reflect the different requirements of healthier and sicker economies. The trouble with the Euro was timing. All economies have ups and downs. The idea was that the ups of some economies supported the downs of others whose turn would come to provide their support when their own economies eventually strengthened. But it's now been revealed that this could take centuries - if ever for some. Clearly bailing out weaker nations is fine if the stronger population wants to pay for them, but how much do the Germans still want to help ungrateful Greeks these days?

Forcing the Greeks, Portuguese, Spanish and others to repay their debts in Euros they can't afford to earn is clearly not working. They have no alternative except to extract it from meagre internal assets which is starting to look like a bridge too far for countries like Greece where a run on their banks is happening while I type.

Unless China buys Greece, what other solutions are there? Do olives go with Peking duck?


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