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欧元的未来

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When the euro was conceived two decades ago, few people expected it to have to weather a storm as great as the recent global economic and financial crisis. And many observers now think the entire European construct -- its institutions and currency -- has been so damaged by the crisis that it might not survive. A careful analysis of the problems within individual eurozone economies, particularly Greece’s, and in the architecture of the monetary union among them reveals what went wrong, how the EU has responded, and what the prospects of the euro really are.

二十年前,欧洲提出了欧元的构想,当时人们都未曾预见到它会遭遇到近些年来的全球经济和金融危机的双重考验。现在有许多观察家都认为经过这场危机,整个欧洲经济体系,包括机制和货币,都已经遍体鳞伤,摇摇欲坠。仔细分析欧洲各个经济体尤其是希腊的种种问题,以及这些经济体之间货币联盟的的格局所存在的问题,就会明白哪里出了差错,欧盟是怎么应对的,以及欧元到底何去何从。

Between 2008 and 2010, several things went wrong in Europe, the biggest of which was Greece’s financial crisis. For years, Greek fiscal policy had been unsound. Although private debt had been rising, the country’s overall debt-to-GDP ratio had not ballooned, because the Greek economy was growing. But that growth turned out to be unsustainable. When the global economic crisis hit, Greece’s deficit more than doubled. The problem was compounded by revelations that the government had grossly falsified and padded its budget in the run up to the 2009 parliamentary elections.

2008年至2010年,欧洲出现了许多问题,其中最严重的当数希腊财政危机。多年来,希腊的财政政策一直都不健全。尽管民间借贷总额在不断增加,但是整个国家的债务跟国民生产总值的比率没有上升,因为当时希腊经济总量节节攀升。但是,这种增长注定无法持久。而当全球经济危机降临,希腊的财政赤字便翻了一番还不止。此外,2009年议会选举时揭露出政府大肆篡改和夸大财政预算这一丑闻,更令形势雪上加霜。

Unlike countries with national currencies, Greece could not address its problems through monetary policy. It can neither print money to inflate its debt away nor depreciate its currency to recover the international competitiveness of Greek goods and grow the economy out of debt. And unlike a subnational federal region in trouble, Greece, as a sovereign unit itself, could not have its falling revenues and rising social expenditures offset through simple fiscal transfers from the rest of Europe. Its labor force, moreover, is not mobile enough for excess to be exported elsewhere in the eurozone.

希腊使用的是欧元,所以不能像使用本币的国家一样通过采取货币政策来解决问题。希腊既不能增加货币发行量使缩减债务规模,也不能让货币贬值以提高希腊商品的国际竞争力,从而推动本国经济走出债务阴影。希腊作为主权国,又不能像地方那样,遇到麻烦时就从欧洲其他国家获得简单财政转移支付,从而使得财政收入下滑与各种社会性开支的上涨相抵消。此外,希腊劳动力的流动性不强,不易输出到欧元区的其他国家。

As far as the euro’s architects were concerned, this kind of problem should never have arisen. European financial markets should have put pressure on countries with excessive debt-to-GDP ratios, such as Greece, by charging them higher interest rates for loans. The European Central Bank (ECB) prohibits loaning money to service national debts, and its no-bail-out clause should similarly have discouraged overspending. Additionally, the eurozone’s Stability and Growth Pact, which was meant to enforce fiscal discipline in member countries through rules against running high deficits and debts, should have constrained Greek politicians. Finally, the Lisbon process, a 2000 development plan for the eurozone, should have increased Greece’s economic competitiveness and spurred real growth.

欧元的创造者们认为,这种问题根本就不该发生。希腊的债务跟国民生产总值的比率已经超高了,所以欧洲的金融市场就应该向这样的国家收取更高的贷款利息,给他们带来极大的压力。欧洲中央银行(欧央行)禁止用贷款缓解国家债务,它的《不救援条款》也同时限制了政府过度开支。另外,当初为了抑制高昂的财政赤字以及债务,保证各成员国财政纪律而签署的《欧元区稳定与增长公约》也本该制衡希腊政客。最后,一项针对欧元区的2000年发展计划——里斯本进程也理应增加希腊经济的竞争力,刺激经济真正增长。

Unexpectedly, however, European financial markets accommodated Greece’s public and private spending with relatively low interest rates. It was only when the global financial crisis gained momentum that the markets reacted and capital flows suddenly stopped. The Stability and Growth Pact was ineffective as well; member states proved unwilling to enforce restrictions against others for fear of being subject to restrictions themselves. Finally, the Lisbon process underestimated the true differences in the member countries’ economies and failed to adequately address them.

出人意料的是,欧洲财政市场纵容希腊获得利率较低的公共和民间消费的贷款。直到全球经济危机一发不可收拾时,市场才有所反应,资金供给戛然而止。《欧洲稳定与增长公约》也形同虚设,成员国担心针对别国的做法会被以彼之道,还施彼身。至于里斯本进程,它低估了各成员国之间经济实力的真正差别,所以没能充分地解决这一问题。

Once the Greek financial crisis was under way, there were two options for tackling it. The first was for Greece to implement fiscal and structural reform that would bring its debt and deficit under control. Greece, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (EC), and the ECB negotiated just such a plan in June, with the goal of turning Greece’s primary deficit of nine percent of GDP into a surplus of six percent by 2015. It rests on fairly standard IMF reforms: substantial expenditure cuts, increases in revenue creation, and improvements in tax collection. It also includes important structural reforms, such as pension reform and privatization, which are aimed at improving long-run debt sustainability and the performance of Greece’s labor and manufacturing sectors.

希腊一爆发财政危机,就有两条路可以走。一是推行财政和结构改革,使债务和赤字可控。就在六月,希腊和国际货币基金组织,欧洲委员会以及欧洲央行达成下列方案,目标就是在2015年之前,把希腊财政收支余额从占国内生产总值9%的基本赤字转化为占国内生产总值6%的盈余。这是根据标准的国际货币基金组织改革方案,竭力缩减支出,广开财源,强化税收征管。该方案还包括重大结构改革,如:养老金制度改革和私有化,目的是增加长期债务持续性,提高劳动力和制造业效率。

The plan was accompanied by financing from the IMF and loans from the rest of the eurozone worth

标签:欧元
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2010-08-25 20:54 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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