Ex German Bank chief blames bankers

Greece was not ready for Euro admits ex Bundesbank head

GMT 15:59 2012 Friday ,27 April

Arab Today, arab today Greece was not ready for Euro admits ex Bundesbank head

Ex-Bundesbank president Ernst Welteke
Berlin - Agencies

Ex-Bundesbank president Ernst Welteke A former head of the German Central Bank, has said that Greece should not have joined the euro. However, Ernst Welteke, who was the Bundesbank president from 1999-2004, told the BBC that none of the eurozone's problems would be solved if Greece left.
Welteke said that there should be greater transfer of wealth from richer parts of the eurozone to poorer parts.
He adde that he was confident measures were in place to ensure the euro's survival.
Welteke, speaking on the business daily programme on the BBC said: The euro is not in as big a danger as is often recorded".
He added that "the euro has been stable for 10 years, inside and outside the European Monetary Union (EMU)".
Welteke also said that in hindsight, it was clear that Greece was not ready for the euro, saying that:"We can say that Greece should not have joined the EMU, but that doesn't help."
The former head of the German Central Bank said that as Greece only accounts for 3 percent of the economic output of the eurozone, "if Greece leaves the EMU then monetary union will still work."
He added: "But I don't think Greece leaving will solve any problems."
The country's new currency would depreciate, meaning Greece would struggle to repay its euro-denominated debts, he said. This would cause big problems for Europe's banks that lent Greece the money.
Welteke said the current problems facing the Eurozone were due to a debt crisis in southern Europe resulting from the financial crisis.
He also highlighted deeper problems, such as trading imbalances, with some countries running current account surpluses and others running deficits.
Welteke said:"Austerity alone is not the solution, without more growth the problems cannot be solved”.
He added : "There have to be structural reforms in all countries, not just in the labour market but in tax administration for example. In the end monetary union is a solidarity union; there is no question there should be a greater transfer of wealth from Germany to struggling countries.
The former German Bank chief added that: “It was the job of politicians, not the European Central Bank (ECB), to resolve these problems”.
He said that, in his view, the ECB should go back to focusing on managing inflation after its recent moves to provide cheap loans to boost liquidity in the banking sector.
However, Welteke, who resigned from the Bundesbank in 2004 in a row over a luxury hotel bill, said it was important to remember who caused the crisis in the first place. This was an apparent reference to bankers.
He said: "The problems occurred after the financial crisis and the financial crisis was not the result of undisciplined politicians".
He added: "It was the result of people living, working and earning a lot of money in the financial centres. For 10 years, the financial markets did not differ between lending money to Germany or lending money to Spain, Portugal and Greece”.
Welteke concluded by saying that: "If there is a creditor and a debtor, both are responsible for the credit."

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