Countries in crisis

Debate Moderator: 

Please register or log in to post a commentary to this debate

Lead Commentaries

Erik Berglöf, 28 February 2009

Eastern European nations are on the edge. In this column, the Chief Economist of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development argues that widespread banking crises are possible, if Western governments fail to coordinate. The situation is manageable, but it needs to be managed.

Jon Danielsson, Gylfi Zoega, 09 February 2009

Some view Iceland’s crisis as holding lessons for any country with an outsized financial sector, e.g. the UK. This column disagrees, arguing that Iceland’s downfall is explained by the way its unique history, inappropriate policy responses, and weaknesses in EU banking regulations created a perfect storm, unlikely to happen elsewhere.

John Cotter, 19 May 2009

Each economy has suffered a unique variant of the global financial crisis. This column details the perilous situation facing Ireland’s banking and property sectors. It says that the government responded poorly, particularly early in the crisis. Most indicators remain quite negative, though there are glimmers of evidence that the economy may begin to improve.

Patrick Honohan, Philip Lane, 28 February 2009

Ireland’s huge exports to GDP ratio and privileged position in global supply chains helped it grow rapidly in the 1990s, but are now amplifying its downturn. This column argues that Ireland’s looming banking and public finance crises can be fixed. The government must find new sources of tax revenue and craft a package in which all social partners can claim ownership.

Charles Wyplosz, 21 February 2009

Some European governments are contemplating bailouts of other European governments. This column argues that violating the Eurozone’s no-bailout clause this soon would be a mistake. Much as it was necessary to let Lehman Brothers go down before bailing out the remaining banks, it may be necessary to let a profligate government default and ask for IMF assistance.

Patrick Honohan, Philip Lane, 28 February 2009

Ireland’s huge exports to GDP ratio and privileged position in global supply chains helped it grow rapidly in the 1990s, but are now amplifying its downturn. This column argues that Ireland’s looming banking and public finance crises can be fixed. The government must find new sources of tax revenue and craft a package in which all social partners can claim ownership.

Daniel Gros, 25 February 2009

The European periphery faces significant economic turmoil. This column argues that Eastern European woes threaten the core of Europe and necessitate a systemic response. It proposes a new, massive European Financial Stability Fund (involving about 5% of EU GDP) run through the European Investment Bank.

Jon Danielsson, Gylfi Zoega, 09 February 2009

Some view Iceland’s crisis as holding lessons for any country with an outsized financial sector, e.g. the UK. This column disagrees, arguing that Iceland’s downfall is explained by the way its unique history, inappropriate policy responses, and weaknesses in EU banking regulations created a perfect storm, unlikely to happen elsewhere.

Cédric Tille, 12 March 2009

The biggest risk facing the Swiss economy is its large financial sector with substantial international exposure. Foreign currencies, mostly held by UBS and Credit Suisse, account for nearly two-thirds of banks’ balance sheets – an amount equivalent to four times annual GDP. This column suggests splitting the two large banks’ domestic and foreign operations, so that losses on the latter do not jeopardise the domestic financial system.