Economists and trade specialists, including C. Boyden Gray, former Ambassador to the European Union, analyze the financial situation in Europe during a discussion titled, "The Eurozone Crisis After the Greek Elections," hosted by the Atlantic Council.
Panelists highlighted the role of Germany, the best-performing economy in the Eurozone, in shaping the conversation on subjects like austerity, bailouts and acceptable levels of debt. Most portrayed the current economic situation as a series of "messy negotiations," but not a full-on crisis, as it has sometimes been portrayed in the media.
Ambassador Gray noted that even the U.S. has many interstate commerce issues that have yet to be resolved, including the shipping of wine across state lines, and that the U.S. is a much stronger union that that in Europe.
On Sunday, June 17, Greek voters elected a conservative government that vowed to keep the country in the euro zone. However, to ease tensions within the country over austerity measures demanded by lender nations, the new government is asking to renegotiate the terms of a $130 billion loan, the second massive bailout since 2010.
Germany, the country with the biggest investment in the Greek bailout, is holding a hard line on any re-negotiation.
On Monday, interest rates rose in Spain and Italian stocks fell as European financial markets responded to news of the Greek election. Spain and Italy are among the weaker economies in the 17-member Eurozone.
Other participants are: Dr. Ulrike Guerot, Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations; Jacob Kirkegaard, Research Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics; and Frances G. Burwell, Vice President and Director, Program on Transatlantic Relations, Atlantic Council.