爱思英语编者按:欧元区边缘国家持续恶化的债务危机使人们开始再次担心这16个经济情况各异的主权国家组成的货币联盟是否还能继续生存下去。
The worsening debt crisis on the euro zone's periphery has reawakened concerns about the viability of a currency union that encompasses 16 sovereign nations with disparate economies.
  
1999年开始使用欧元时,支持者认为对成员国的赤字进行严格控制将促使实力较弱的成员国在一段时间之后变得更具竞争力。相反,自欧元区成立伊始便开始实行的较低利率政策使希腊和葡萄牙等国能够尽享低廉借贷成本之利以促进国内经济增长,掩盖了其生产率低但劳动成本高等结构性效率低下的问题。
When the euro was introduced in 1999, supporters argued that strict controls on member states' deficits would, over time, compel weaker members to become more competitive. Instead, the lower interest rates that came with membership have allowed countries such as Greece and Portugal to take advantage of cheap borrowing costs to spur domestic growth, papering over their structural inefficiencies such as low productivity and high labor costs.
  
经济危机凸显了这些问题,使包括葡萄牙、爱尔兰、希腊和西班牙在内的经济较弱的国家越来越难以振兴其经济并承担其债务。
The financial crisis has laid these problems bare, making it increasingly difficult for the weaker countries, including Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, to both revive their economies and service their debts.
  
部分原因是:政府为未偿债务所需支付的利息越多,他们所能承受的、能够改善其经济内在潜力的基础设施支出或减税能力就越少。投资者开始担心欧洲货币联盟可能瓦解,从而破坏了人们对欧元自身的信心。
That is in part because the more governments have to pay in interest on their outstanding debt, the less they can absorb infrastructure spending or tax cuts that could improve the underlying potential of their economies. That, in turn, is undermining confidence in the euro itself as investors have begun to worry that Europe's monetary union could unravel.
  
欧元周四跌至1.3741美元,是8个月最低点,但就历史标准而言仍然较高。十年前,许多投资者质疑欧元的生存能力,当时其汇率仅为85美分左右。
The euro, which Thursday fell to a eight-month low of $1.3741, is still high by historical standards. It traded at around 85 U.S. cents a decade ago when many investors questioned its viability.
  
一些观察人士更为担心的不是欧元下跌,而是下跌的速度。去年12月以来,欧元下跌了约9%。人们担心欧元进一步下跌将使希腊等经常帐户高赤字国家更加难以吸引他们亟需的外国资本流入该国。大多数人认为,欧元区解体这一最坏的情况还远在天边。但希腊及其它边缘国家的危机彰显了欧洲缺乏强有力政治架构的问题。欧洲央行为由16个成员组成的欧元区设定利率,但却没有对成员国财政政策进行干预的直接权力。
What worries some observers more than the decline itself is the fall's velocity. The euro has lost about 9% against the dollar since December. One concern is that a further drop could make it harder for countries with high current-account deficits, such as Greece, to attract the foreign capital needed to finance them. By most accounts, the worst-case scenario -- a breakup of the euro zone -- remains very remote. Nevertheless, the crisis in Greece and other periphery countries highlights Europe's lack of a powerful political framework. The European Central Bank sets interest across the 16-member euro zone but has no direct power over members states' fiscal policies.
  
Brown Brothers Harriman货币策略师布朗说,欧元区有一个央行,却没有政治联盟。
The euro zone 'has one central bank, but there isn't political union,' says Meg Browne, a currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman.
  
这使欧盟难以通过直接控制遇到麻烦的成员国的预算来战胜当前的危机。
That is making it difficult for the EU to overcome the current crisis by taking direct control of the budgets in troubled member countries.
  
与此同时,在经济前景较弱及通胀非常低的背景之下,人们怀疑希腊、西班牙及其它国家是否能够削减足够多的预算,即便他们做出所有正确的政治选择。从2000年到2007年,这些国家经济增长强劲,通胀适度,政府收入源源不断,使他们能够保持一种现在证明是难以持续的政府支出水平。
Meanwhile, a weak economic outlook and very low inflation have raised doubts about whether Greece, Spain and others can cut deficits enough even if they make all the right political choices. Those countries enjoyed a mix of strong economic growth and moderate inflation that filled government coffers from 2000 to 2007, allowing them to maintain levels of government spending that proved unsustainable.
  
现在情况发生了逆转。国库逐渐枯竭,欧盟官员称这些国家为增强竞争力所需进行的经济改革意味着未来数年经济增长将十分缓慢,甚至将出现通缩,政府将更难以创收。
Now, the reverse is happening. Government coffers are drying up. The economic reforms that European officials say those countries need to become more competitive imply sluggish growth and perhaps even deflation in the years to come, making it still harder for governments to generate revenue.
  
西班牙成为欧元能否经得住此次打击的最关键因素。葡萄牙、爱尔兰和希腊这三个最脆弱的边缘国家一共只占欧元区GDP的6%。如果加上西班牙,这一比例将上升至近20%。尽管它经常被归类到边缘小国之列,但也算是一只脚踏进了德国、法国和意大利的核心集团。
Whether the common currency withstands this latest threat depends greatly on Spain. The most vulnerable peripheral countries -- Portugal, Ireland and Greece -- combine for only 6% of euro-zone GDP. When Spain is added to the mix that share rises to almost 20%. Though often lumped into the smaller periphery, it has one foot in the core group of Germany, France and Italy.
  
许多经济学家相信,在边缘国家可能面临公众强烈反对的情况下大规模削减预算是走出危机的唯一办法。此类措施有助于消除外界对欧洲货币联盟凝聚力的担心并强化欧元。
Many economists believe the only way out of the crisis is for the periphery countries to undertake drastic budget cuts in the face of what is likely to be fierce public opposition. Such steps could help dispel concerns about the cohesion of monetary union and strengthen the euro.