ACCORDING to legend, Willie Sutton robbed banks “because that is where the money is”. If only European politicians were as rational. The euro zone is now threatened by a sovereign credit crunch nasty enough to plunge entire economies into misery. Warding it off will involve keeping (or, for Greece, regaining) the confidence of financial markets, so that horribly indebted countries can continue to service their debts without being crippled by the cost. For all the brave talk of solidarity among euro countries, taxpayers on their own cannot and will not pay to keep their neighbours afloat. In short, Europe needs the markets to get it out of this hole, because they are where the money is.
传言称,美国银行大盗威利.萨顿打劫银行的原因是:“钱在银行里”!但愿欧洲政治家们可以像威利萨顿那样不至于犯晕。欧元区现在已经陷入一场主权信用危机,其危险程度之深足以将欧洲拖入不复深渊。为避免灾难发生,需要保持(或者对于希腊来说应该是 重获)投资者对于欧洲市场的信心。唯有如此,那些欧洲深陷债务泥沼的国家才可能继续偿还其债务而不是被支出拖垮以至破产。相对于欧盟国家内部关于团结共度难关的高调,各国的纳税人不能,也不大会同意出钱搭救落难同伴。简而言之,欧洲需要让市场来拯救深陷债务危机的同伴,因为“钱在市场那里”。
 
That means it is time for European leaders to call a truce in a populist campaign to present the markets as illegitimate decision-makers, driven only by the cynicism and greed of “speculators”. Such populism has painted politicians, notably in Germany, into a rhetorical corner. If the markets are so wicked, why should voters spend money on emergency aid whose purpose is to help Greece regain investors’ confidence?
这意味着,欧盟领导人是时候停止再打着民粹主义的旗号,将市场描述成只受“投机者”的玩世不恭和贪婪驱动的“不合格决策者”。这些民粹主义言论将欧盟(尤其是德国)官员置于自相矛盾的境地。 假如市场本身罪恶至此,那选民为什么还要将钱投在目的仅仅是为了帮助希腊挽回投资者信心的救助计划上?

Politicians were at it again this week, after Greece had asked for loans from the European Union and the IMF (see article). President Nicolas Sarkozy of France was heard vowing resolute action against the “speculation targeting Greece”. Yves Mersch, Luxembourg’s central-bank governor, denounced “increasing speculation on the capacity of Greece to honour its debt”, which he said was out of all proportion to “the healthy functioning of the markets”. When Standard & Poor’s downgraded Greek long-term debt to junk, the European Commission said huffily that it expected rating agencies like S&P to be “responsible” at this “difficult and sensitive” time.
本周,在希腊请求欧盟和IMF提供贷款之后,那些政客又在这个问题上犯同样的错误。据称,当时法国总统萨科齐誓言就“针对希腊的投机行为”采取果断行动。卢森堡中央银行行长Yves Mersc谴责日渐增多的“针对希腊偿债能力进行投机”的现象,并称这种投机已经远远超出市场正常运作的比例。当标准.普尔评级公司将希腊长期债务评级下调为垃圾级时,欧盟委员会不无恼火,声称在当下“困难,敏感”时期,包括标准普尔在内的评级公司应当处事“负责”,具有“大局意识”。更多信息请访问:http://www.24en.com/

European press coverage is marked by telling differences of vocabulary. In countries like France, even pro-business newspapers have carried headlines such as “The markets attack Portugal”. The American and British press have talked of investor confidence falling as bondholders worry that they might not be paid on time or in full. A dangerous gap of mutual mistrust and incomprehension has opened between the world of euro-zone politics and the financial markets. The gap is wide enough for a country like Greece to fall through.
而欧盟的媒体也是各执一词。在一些国家,如法国,即便是倾向市场化的媒体也用上诸如“市场开始对葡萄牙“下手” 这样的新闻标题。 英美媒体则在散播诸如“投资者信心下滑”之类的消息,因为债券持有人担心手中的债券无法得到按时或足额支付。欧元区的政治人士和金融市场间严重缺乏互信及理解,这是极其危险的。这种互信和理解上的巨大差距足以让类似希腊的一些欧盟国家陷入万劫不复的境地。

Markets are not blameless. Speculators exist, and their behaviour is not always very nice. Some analysts lump all southern economies together, when they face distinct problems. Most seriously, market participants, especially in far-off spots like America or Asia, need to shed unrealistic expectations about the political solutions that may be possible in Europe, at least any time soon.
当然,市场本身并非无可指责。投机者总是存在,且其行为并不总是受人称许。面临截然不同的问题时,一些分析人士将欧洲南部诸国经济混为一谈。最为严重的是,一些市场参与者,尤其是一些来自于稍远的美国,亚洲的参与者对欧盟可能推出的政治方案预期亟待回归理性,至少短期内是这样。

Too many non-European commentaries follow a beguilingly simple logical path, which goes like this: the single currency is vulnerable in a crisis because it was created without a single government above it to control tax, spending and transfers between the euro zone’s richer and poorer economies. Now there is a huge crisis, so the euro is doomed unless its members pool more sovereignty when it comes to taxing, spending and borrowing, and create an economic union. Yet this logic flies in the face of the real world. Germany is only the highest-profile euro country to oppose anything that threatens its financial sovereignty and to tout the near-sacred devotion of its parliament to budget discipline. Others, like the Dutch, are hiding behind the Germans.
而大多的非欧洲本土新闻评论多遵循这样一条自以为是的逻辑:单一货币的经济体在危机面前是脆弱的,因为这种经济体中,没有一个政府可以单独调控欧元区各国的税收,开支和富国向穷国的财政转移。面对当前巨大危机,除非各成员国在税收,行政支出,借贷方面更能以一个声音说话并创建欧洲经济共同体,否则欧元前景黯淡。这种逻辑在现实世界中竟大行其道。德国是欧洲唯一一个高调反对任何威胁其经济主权行为的国家,并且向外界大肆鼓吹其近乎神圣执行预算纪律的议会。其它一些国家,像瑞士,在力度上不像德国这样大。

Some unrealistic market expectations are the fault of European politicians, who are quick to predict disaster if their favourite policies are not adopted. Events are “proving right” those who said that the euro was a half-finished project, said Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the IMF (and a possible Socialist candidate to run against Mr Sarkozy in France’s 2012 presidential election) on the eve of a visit to Germany intended to get it to endorse the EU-IMF bail-out for Greece. Europe needed a co-ordinated economic policy and much stronger mechanisms of “solidarity”, he said. In contrast, members of Angela Merkel’s ruling party have talked of Greece leaving the euro temporarily if it fails to meet strict austerity conditions.
另外,一些脱离实际的市场预期其实应归咎于欧洲政治家,因为一旦合理的政策无法得以施行,他们就可以预测到灾难的临近。一些人声称,欧元区其实是个半拉子工程,现在发生的种种事件证明这种论断是对的。IMF主席多米尼克·斯特劳斯-卡恩在一次旨在促使德国通过欧盟-国际货币基金组织对希腊援助计划的德国之行前夕如是表示(并且卡恩本人可能是2012年法国总统大选中社会主义党对抗萨科齐的候选人)。 他表示,欧洲需要一个充分协调的经济政策及更强大的“抱团”克服难关的机制,与之形成鲜明对比,默克尔领导的执政党党内成员大谈:假如希腊无法达到严格的紧缩要求,则希腊应暂时退出欧元区。

On April 26th Mrs Merkel’s deputy, the German foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, declared that offering money too soon would undermine Greek discipline. Two days later, another bigwig heading to Berlin to urge a bail-out, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Ángel Gurría, said the danger of contagion in the euro-zone called for swift action. “This is like Ebola”, Mr Gurría said. “When you realise you have it, you have to cut your leg off in order to survive.”
4月26日,德国总统默克尔副手,德国外交部部长基多·威斯特威勒宣称,过快向希腊注资将使希腊的财政纪律打折扣。两天后,另外一名欧洲大元飞到柏林,敦促进行金融救助,而经济与合作发展组织(OECD)主席古瑞亚称,面对(希腊债务危机)蔓延到整个欧元区的危险,要迅速采取行动。古瑞亚称:“危机就像爱博拉病毒,当意识到已经感染时,唯有断肢以自保。”

Get real
现实点吧

Politicians ought to admit that markets have valid reasons to believe that it is riskier to lend money to Greece than to Germany. They should admit that rating agencies, for all their recent failings, may perform a useful function when they slap a junk rating on a country’s debt. Among other things, junk ratings warn pension funds and similarly sobersided investors to stay away: they protect widows, orphans and retired factory workers. And the leaders of the 16 euro-zone countries need to admit, after taking more than three months to spell out exactly what a political guarantee of aid for Greece might mean, that their own squabbling incompetence has given markets every reason to shun Greek debt.
无论如何,政治人士要得承认:市场有充分理由相信,希腊和德国相比,借钱给希腊更具风险。他们也必定会承认,已经犯下许多错误的评级机构,对于一国的债务给予垃圾级的评级,可能更能产生积极意义。无论如何,垃圾级的评级可以让那些退休基金及理性的投资者远离危机:这保护了孀妇,孤儿和退休工人。并且欧元区16国领导人也必须承认,在耗尽三个月时间试图向外界表明向希腊提供援助的政治背书之意义,正是欧盟自身的能力不足让市场“理性地”避开希腊债务。

Politicians are allowed to disagree: Europe is a club of democracies with diverse views. But their current disarray amounts to treating financial markets with contempt. Given how much money European governments are going to need over the coming years, that could prove an expensive mistake.
当然,欧洲的政治人士也可以反驳:欧洲是一个观念纷呈的“民主国家俱乐部”。不过,眼下的纷扰则是无视金融市场的存在。欧盟各国政府在未来数年所需数额将最终证明,他们要为当下的错误付出巨大代价。

Journalism award On April 27th
our Charlemagne columnist, David Rennie, won this year's UACES-Thomson Reuters prize for “Reporting Europe”.
启示:记者奖 我刊的查理曼专栏作家戴维德.罗内因为对欧洲的报道在4月27被授予当代欧洲研究学会-汤姆逊 路透社奖。