Un camino para Europa a través de un campo minado

LONDRES – A principios de esta semana, un grupo de casi 100 destacadas personalidades europeas publicó una carta abierta a los líderes de los 17 países de la eurozona, donde pusieron negro sobre blanco lo que los líderes de Europa finalmente parecen comprender: que ya no se puede seguir “pateando la piedra para adelante”. Como también han comprendido algo que no es menos importante: que no alcanza con garantizar que los países puedan financiar sus deudas a tasas razonables, sino que también hay que resolver la debilidad del sistema bancario europeo.

De hecho, los problemas bancarios de Europa y los de deuda soberana se refuerzan mutuamente. La desvalorización de los bonos públicos expuso la falta de capitalización de los bancos, mientras que la perspectiva de que los Estados deban financiar la recapitalización de los bancos impulsó un aumento de las primas de riesgo que pagan los bonos públicos. Enfrentados a la posibilidad de tener que tomar más capital en un momento en que sus acciones se venden por una fracción de su valor contable, los bancos tienen un fuerte incentivo a reducir sus balances retirando líneas de crédito y achicando sus carteras de préstamos.

En este momento, los líderes europeos están decidiendo qué hacer, y su próxima jugada tendrá consecuencias determinantes: o logran tranquilizar a los mercados o los empujarán a nuevos extremos. Hay consenso respecto de que Grecia necesita una reestructuración ordenada, porque una quiebra desordenada podría ocasionar una debacle en toda la eurozona. Pero en lo relativo a los bancos, me temo que algunas de las medidas que los líderes de la eurozona contemplan implementar son desacertadas.

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