Euroland Looks for Scapegoats: U.S. Credit Rating Agencies (Die Welt, Germany)
Are America’s ‘big three’ credit agencies at fault for wrongly downgrading Eurozone debt at the worst possible time – or are European leaders just looking for someone else to blame for their troubles? According to this editorial from Germany’s Die Welt, the blame for the mess in Europe rests squarely on the shoulders of European officials who would rather tell their constituents pretty lies than the truth: maintaining monetary union, while worthwhile – will be costly.
The Die Welt editorial starts out this way:
Imagine finding ourselves at the end of a week of negative headlines, during which nervousness and even panic had developed in financial markets. If a major credit rating agency had for the first time withdrawn France’s top rating, the question would immediately be asked: Why must they do this at a moment in which it makes everything even worse?
Standard & Poor’s actually did downgrade France on Friday evening, but it did so after a week in which hope had sprung up – hope that the economy would begin to bounce back, hope that we in the euro crisis would be let off lightly. And so the question still arises: Why now?
But hold on – doubts about the resolve of European governments to tackle their problems are still justified. It is significant that some – and not only southern Europe’s usual suspects by the way – are already busy trying to dismantle the “stability union” crafted just five weeks ago. And even if such doubts were no longer justified, it will take some time for them to be dispelled. After many years of stagnation in Italy, Prime Minister Mario Monti is pressing forward with a somewhat promising series of reforms. And Monti is already calling the lack of market confidence in the viability of his country’s future “no longer justified.” Is he serious?
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