The series of downgrade warnings issued to Eurozone countries by Fitch today is not, in and of itself, particulalry consequential. But the breadth of the countries getting warnings — Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, Italy, Ireland, and Cyprus — is telling. In particular, it’s Slovenia and Belgium not Slovenia and Croatia. It’s Ireland and Italy, not Ireland and the United Kindgom. What these countries have in common is the euro. In other words, a set of institutional and monetary arrangements that just don’t work very well.
If I were an elected official, I’d be extremely reluctant to pull the plug on this endeavor even though it was misguided from the start and isn’t functioning in practice. But I’d be leaping at the opportunity to be the second prime minister to bail on the whole thing if someone else went first.