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TODAY 12/01 – Quantitative Easing and possible GREXIT.

Two main topics are distinguishable among the member states media today: the ECB taking on a quantitative easing (QE) policy and Greece’s possible exit from the euro area.
On the first topic, France’s La Croix publishes an extensive article comparing the workings of the US Fed, the ECB and the Bank of England, while Le Figaro includes an opinion piece where Nicolas Bavarez says that “Europe shows a real genius to harm itself and ruin its chances to exit the crisis”. In Germany, Handelsblatt writes that Mario Draghi is urging other governing council members to support quantitative easing, while Philip Plickert in FAZ argues putting that in practice would violate the Maastricht treaty.

WirtschaftsWoche includes a guest article by Commerzbank Chief Economist Jörg Krämer in which he denies Japan is a good example of what will happen if a quantitative easing policy is not enacted. In the UK’s Financial Times, Wolfgang Munchau argues in favour of firm action by the ECB to avoid deflation, while the INYT writes on ECB Executive Board Memebers’ reasons for not supporting QE.

In The Wall Street Journal Europe, Brian Blackstone speculates on the impact QE would have on European markets. In the Netherlands, De Telegraaf notes that Dutch economists doubt the helpfulness of extra action by the ECB. Világgazdaság in Hungary includes a line by ECB Governing Council Member Ardo Hansson saying the ECB should slow its rush towards fresh stimulus, while Bursa in Romania writes that the current decline period is based on the expectations the ECB is raising with his lack of an official statement on QE.

Estonia’s Postimees includes a contributing article by ECB President Mario Draghi himself, where he discusses what the monetary union lacks to be a true union. Salzburger Nachrichten in Austria includes a commentary by Ronald Barazon in which he doubts the usefulness of either QE or the Investment Plan for Europe. Fernando Pacheco writes a piece in Portugal’s Diário Económico in which he tries to predict the evolution of the European economy in 2015. In Italy, Corriere della Sera comments on an interview by Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco in the Welt am Sontag, where he openly supported the ECB’s QE programme. Finland’s MT editorial piece argues that the euro area has now entered deflation and that an eventual QE programme by the ECB will be useless without structural reforms. The Sunday Business Post in Ireland writes about the likeliness of the ECB implementing such a programme and highlights the experience in other countries.
On Greece’s possible exit from the euro area, John Plassard writes in France’s La Tribune that it is possible and would be catastrophic for the country’s economy. Bert Rürup writes in Handelsblatt that Hans-Werner Sinn has praised Syriza leader Tsipiras for his readiness to reintroduce the drachma, while another Handelsblatt article ponders the options the party will have after the election to negotiate with the ECB. WirtschaftsWoche publishes an interview with Syriza’s economic consultant Yiannis Milios in which he states that the party is interested in stopping austerity, and that Greek debt must be re-negotiated.

In Spiegel.de, Giorgos Christides writes that Germany has a debt with Greece since the end of WWII, and that Syriza will make it a priority topic in its programme. Tageszeitung adds that the debt forgiveness is being seriously debated in Brussels, which is recognition that Syriza is more than a danger for the euro. In the UK, Daily Telegraph says that a “Grexit” would be no real tragedy, while Financial Times argues that the country and the EU should negotiate to avoid it. The INYT writes Syriza will have difficulties getting an agreement if it wins the election, while The Wall Street Journal Europe insists the “Grexit” could happen by accident.
In Belgium, De Standaard writes that partial debt relief is known to be needed, although nobody wants to say it out loud, Het Financieele Dagblad concurs, saying a growing number of EU politicians want to reduce Greece’s debt. Ö1 in Austria includes a recommendation by DIW Chief Economist Marcel Fratzscher to continue the aid for Greece. He adds that the creditors will have to write off some of their receivables too. In Slovakia, Pravda features a commentary by Alexander Ač from the Global Change Research Centre where he analyses what is said of Syriza and adds that real radicalism is forcing someone to repay debts while only getting economic depression in return.

In Spain, El País writes that the European Commission is set to propose a new extension of the Greek bailout, while Cinco Días’ Bernardo de Miguel weighs in on the debate about how to restructure Greece’s sovereign debt. In Portugal, Diário Económico includes a double opinion article, in which Luís Goes Pinheiro and Sandra Clemente comment the eventuality of Greece’s exit from the Eurozone, with the former considering an eventual Grexit irresponsible and the latter believing the ECB and ESM would prevent a contagion of it to other member states. Jornal do Negocios’ Fernando Sobral takes on a more dooming approach in saying Europe is walking into the abyss talking calmly about Greece’s exit from the euro area. In Greece itself, Kathimerini comments on an interview with Greek Minister of Finance Gikas Hardouvelis appeared in The Wall Street Journal in which He expressed his belief that Greece will not exit from the euro area.© European Union, 2015

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