Greece and the Crisis in the Eurozone

Friday 24 June 2011, 11:32

Simon Ford Simon Ford

The economic and wider political implications of what's currently happening in Greece and the Eurozone are not just a story for the next day or week. BBC journalists will be covering the story for the next few years.

That's the view of the BBC's Business Editor, Robert Peston, and BBC Chief Economics Correspondent Hugh Pym, who gave a lunchtime briefing on the subject.

Greece's national debt is around 340 billion euros - that's one and-a-half times the value of everything the country produces.

In a nutshell, explains Hugh Pym in this video, Greece's problem is all about lack of growth and lack of a private sector to drive that growth. He looks at some of the dilemmas facing the country as it tries to boost growth, and he considers some of the arguments made by those people who say that Greece should leave the Eurozone.

Hugh Pym explains why banks and commercial investors fear the country has borrowed more than it can every repay - currently over 20 billion euros a year - and he looks at the impact of this on the other EU countries.

Another critical issue, according to Robert Peston, is the reputation of the European Central Bank. It's important that it's not seen to be weak or to fail. And, he points out, central banks are not supposed to lose money.

He explores some of the issues around Europe's banks and what any restructuring of the Greek debt might mean for countries like Spain, Ireland and Portugal.

Right now, he says, there doesn't seem to be a huge pressure from Eurozone governments for the UK to provide additional finance for any Greek rescue plan. But there are circumstances in which it might be in the British national interest to chip in.


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