As the Greek drama continues to play out — even after European leaders promised a bailout — it’s worth noting yet another deep structural problem faced by the Eurozone: it’s got too many cooks.When the US government bailed out its banks, there was some basic uniformity on the part of the players. Bush, Paulson, Geithner, and Bernanke were all on the same side. So too was the Democratic leadership in the House.
But who’s in charge in Europe?
At the ECB you have Jean-Claude Trichet.
Then you have European Council President Herman van Rompuy.
But of course, the real power is in Germany, where Angela Merkel holds forth. Then after her you have Sarkozy.
And on and on it goes.
If you’re reading through all the reports and can’t help but feel as though it’s an endless stream of mixed messages, that’s because it is. There’s no unified authority, just the fantasy of one — a fantasy which instantly evaporates at the first sign of crisis.
No wonder the Greek finance minister is now begging: clarity on the bailout, please!