No more euro deja vu
Officials are letting investors run away with the idea that there will be a solution to Greece's problems by the end of the week. European financial crises don't usually go so smoothly. Let's hope this will be the exception.
I said yesterday that a lack of clarity about how, exactly, Greece would be helped was a big part of the problem. Have things got any clearer since then? Well, yes and no.
Yes, because German officials have told the FT that they are considering a bilateral support programme, with the likes of Germany and France either lending directly to Greece or agreeing to buy Greek sovereign debt.
But no, because the cacophony of voices coming out of Brussels, Athens, Paris and Berlin on the subject suggests that they are still quite a long way from deciding what a Greek support programme would involve.
We do know that a full-blown EU support plan is dead in the water. As I reported from Davos, and British officials have been happy to confirm this week, the UK will have none of it. Sweden - another key non-euro country - says no as well.
The tussle over the IMF isn't over. But the at least some German officials are coming round to the idea that IMF involvement - of some sort - would give the deal greater credibility in the markets.
For my money, the biggest untold story is the role - or lack of it - of the ECB. Though it cannot bail out a eurozone member government, it can set up additional swap lines for the Greek central bank, in essence, to prop up its reserves. That can give some powerful - and visible - reassurance to investors in any country facing a potential run.
This is what the US Federal Reserve did in late October 2008, when it announced temporary swap arrangements that would make an extra $30bn in dollar liquidity available to the central banks of Brazil, Mexico, Korea and Singapore. It's not clear why the ECB doesn't do it for Greece - or other Pigs (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain). It's only a short-term measure. But it couldn't hurt.
The biggest fear, voiced privately by officials in Germany and the UK - is that the crisis will follow the usual trajectory for European currency crises.
This would be the traditional script: the leaders come up with what they consider to be a strong statement of support for Greece after they meet tomorrow. Investors read it. They ask, exactly, what it means. The leaders fall back on a mixture of hand gestures and verbal fudge (or worse, they each give clear, but completely contradictory answers).
Markets swoon in disappointment. A nervy weekend follows. Only after eurozone finance ministers dine on Monday night, in advance of the monthly meeting of EU finance ministers, do the outlines of a Greek "firewall" become clear. And, thanks to all that uncertainty, the deal is rather more expensive than it would have been the week before.
Euro officials know the risks of re-living the past. Let's hope they avoid them.