El retrasado ajuste de cuentas de la zona del euro

NUEVA YORK – Los riesgos que afronta la zona del euro se han reducido desde el verano, cuando la salida de Grecia parecía inminente y los costos del endeudamiento de España e Italia alcanzaron nuevos niveles insostenibles, pero, si bien han disminuido las tensiones financieras, las condiciones económicas en la periferia de la zona del euro siguen siendo precarias.

Varios factores explican la reducción de los riesgos. Para empezar, el programa de “transacciones monetarias directas” del Banco Central Europeo ha sido increíblemente eficaz: los márgenes de los tipos de interés de España e Italia se han reducido en unos 250 puntos básicos, aun antes de que se gastara un solo euro para comprar bonos estatales. La introducción del Mecanismo Europeo de Estabilidad (MEDE), que aporta otros 500 millones de euros (650 millones de dólares) para sostener los bancos y las deudas soberanas, también ha ayudado, como también el reconocimiento por los dirigentes europeos de que una unión monetaria por sí sola es inestable e incompleta, pues requiere una integración bancaria, fiscal y política más profunda.

Pero tal vez lo más importante es que la actitud de Alemania para con la zona del euro en general y Grecia en particular ha cambiado. Los funcionarios alemanes entienden ahora que, dados los amplios vínculos comerciales y financieros existentes, una zona del euro desordenada no sólo perjudica a la periferia, sino también al centro. Han dejado de hacer declaraciones públicas sobre una posible salida de Grecia y acaban de apoyar un tercer plan de rescate para este país. Mientras España e Italia sigan siendo vulnerables, un desplome griego podría desencadenar un grave contagio antes de las elecciones alemanas del año próximo, lo que pondría en peligro las posibilidades de la Canciller Angela Merkel de conseguir otro mandato. Así, pues, Alemania seguirá financiando a Grecia de momento.

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