Sunday, 26 June 2011

Ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem, sed libera nos a Euro

Nigel Farage led a funeral march past the EU Commission building on Friday while a priest administered the last rites to the Euro.

After the stunt he answered questions from the media about UKIP, the EU and Greece in particular.  He predicted, once again, that the Euro would not survive in its current form and that Greece would require a third bailout if it wasn't allowed to default on its debt now.

There is a concern that a Greek default would cause bank failures across Europe and of course that is always a risk, you would have to be naive to suggest that there was no risk involved.  But risk isn't just a measure of the likelihood of something happening, it's a combination of the likelihood of it happening, the impact if it happens and the control you have over the factors affecting the likelihood of whatever it is you don't want to happen to happen.

Greece will default eventually, it already has unsustainable levels of public debt.  Greece will require a third bailout and that will expose the banks even further.  Nigel said it's better they default and the banks get half of what they're owed now than they default after a third bailout and the banks get nothing and he's right.  I've worked in insolvency and debt recovery, I'm not entirely clueless in these matters.  Ok, it wasn't dealing in sovereign debt or debts of millions of pounds but the principle is still the same - you can keep throwing good money after bad trying to get all our money back or you cut your losses and get what you can before their house gets repossessed.

The best thing Greece can do is default on its debt and start again.  It's what people do when they're so far in debt they could never hope to repay it and it's what Greece should do.