European Debt Crisis Continues to Bleed
By JAMES CHAPMAN | MAIL ONLINE | MAY 16, 2012
David Cameron will today express grave doubts about the survival of the euro amid fears that a collapse could drag Britain into a decade-long depression.
He will warn of ‘perilous economic times’ and launch a startling attack on the failure of Germany and other major European countries to take the necessary steps if they want to prevent the euro breaking apart.
‘The eurozone is at a crossroads – it either has to make up, or it is looking at a potential break-up,’ the Prime Minister will say, insisting that sticking to the Government’s austerity measures is the only way to ‘keep Britain safe’.
With signs of a full-blown bank run beginning in debt-stricken Greece, experts warned that if the crisis is not quickly contained, as much as 10 per cent of national income could be wiped out in countries across the EU.
Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King said yesterday the single-currency bloc was ‘tearing itself apart without any obvious solution’, while former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling said the crisis could condemn Britain to ‘years of stagnation’. In other developments:
■ Households face another painful squeeze this year after the Bank of England raised its inflation forecast and warned of rising mortgage costs;
■ Growth forecasts for this year were slashed from 1.3 per cent to 0.8 per cent, with no return to pre-financial crisis levels of growth before 2014;
■ Financial markets slumped further as Greek leaders braced themselves for fresh elections after talks to form a coalition government failed;
■ In a glimmer of good news, unemployment dropped 45,000 to 2.63million, while the number in work jumped by 105,000 to 29.2million.
Economists believe the euro breaking up in disarray would herald a ten-year slump similar to that experienced by Japan in the 1990s. Japanese policymakers hesitated before tackling a banking crisis, and then struggled to revive economic growth, leading to a so-called ‘lost decade’.