The Great Euro Crash

For more than two years Europe has teetered on the edge of an economic precipice – one of the factors that has pushed Britain back into recession. How exactly did Europe get itself into the current financial mess? Talking to historians, economists and politicians, BBC business editor Robert Peston takes a long view of the euro – from Churchill’s vision of a United States of Europe to the bail-outs of Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Meeting a property developer in Ireland, a taxi driver in Rome and a German manufacturing worker, the film exposes the high cost being paid by European workers today for the dream of monetary union – and how close Europe came to a complete banking meltdown. The crisis could yet claim another victim – Britain, with its vast financial sector, would be dragged down by the collapse of the euro. The cost for saving the euro may be high, but the alternative would be a return to the economic mayhem of the 1930s.

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  • Mark Keenan

    Speaking from Ireland’s point of view, I noticed that they went straight for an opinion on Ireland to the biggest Muppet in the Irish Parliament – a disgraced tax cheat and a bust property developer who got elected on a local protest vote. This clown says that Irish people like a gamble? He lost everything he had. It’s a bit like digging up Screaming Lord Sutch in the UK and then using him as a barometer for British opinion.

    In total contrast, before the crash the average Irish person had more savings than those in most other European countries (until the recession). Out of 160 plus parliamentarians, they find this guy and treat him like he’s representative of Irish opinion.

    Ireland’s crash happened because it’s ability to use interest rates to control lending was taken away, thus allowing a small proportion of lunatic developers, through a handful of newbie banks, to borrow simply vast sums of money. This borrowing was supported by European and UK banks who shoveled over the money to them. The Governments in Ireland were powerless to stop it without interest rate control.

    Ireland went down because French, German, British and US banks – the ones which stood to lose out most by bondholders being burned by Ireland (the normal way of doing business in the banking world) – made the EU threaten Ireland to “hold the line” and guarantee bondholders.

    So with Irish banks you could be a bondholder for a bank and get paid back in full if the bank goes bang? Ha haha haha

    Where else in the world, or in any economic logic, has a country being bullied into giving money back to the losers at the racetrack (the French, German, Uk and US bondholders) at the expense of the sovereign taxpayer?

    As many experts have since pointed out, Ireland’s was a bank and property crash – the economy and Government was healthy otherwise. Not anymore.

  • Simon Gramstrup

    “The cost for saving the euro may be high, but the alternative would be a return to the economic mayhem of the 1930s.”

    Or we could just move on to a more modern system where collaboration, people and nature work together. There are lots of possible ways to organize ourself.

  • Slinky

    If you are a little aware of the subject, by half of the movie you will understand that this “documentary” is all about saving the banks (and why) and saving the euro (and why).

    This documentary is full of false rhetoric and omissions.

    It looks like a “for the people” documentary, but its not. Its propaganda.

  • Arsads

    I really think you guys should get your fact straight.
    The hole reason of a united Europe is not has nothing to do with peace or anything like that.
    It was so a global economy would apear.
    And it has. The problem wth Europe is not because of the problems in the southern Countries but because of the northern and most of all Banking countries.
    You have made the financial market so large that if HSBC would fall, all of Europe and the world would go bankrupt.
    This has nothing to do with the real economy but the fake Financial market economy.
    The economy where the bankers can just go on making money on a computer screen.
    The greatest facade ever.
    I can lend you the money but to do so I have to make money first.
    How?
    Well just put n some digits. And yes we have new money.
    Now after having money, what can we do with it. Like Ireland, we are going to build houses, and buildings.
    Because the bank is going to lend it to us anyway. Now the problem is that if one Bank or financial institute would become problematic, this would effect the hole market.
    So this has nothing to do with Europe, because not a long time before the Euro problem, There was the Dollar problem.
    It s all about your consumption addiction.
    All want to live as Cesar, yet they are merely spectators in the arena.
    For the English here.
    Your economy is as bad if not even worse than the rest of Europe.
    The difirence between rich and poor has never been as great as it is now.
    The hole scam of a good economy is being set by the elite to control the working man.

    So before you believe this nonsense please get the facts right.