Finansanalytikere kaller det som skjer nå for en nedsmelting. Hellas er blitt uvesentlig, oppmerksomheten er rettet mot Italia, og Frankrike og Spania begynner å føle presset.
Jennifer McKeown, a senior European economist at Capital Economics, said: “It is a panic. Rome is burning. Governments need to stop the fire spreading. Britain can’t escape the implications of this crisis.” Marc Ostwald, an economic strategist at Monument Securities, added: “This is a form of meltdown. I would imagine the telephones between international finance ministries and central banks are in danger of running so hot they’ll melt down themselves.”
Eurozone leaders were accused of failing to get on top of the crisis. Last month, they announced plans for a one-trillion-euro bail-out fund but have struggled to raise money for the scheme.
Alistair Darling, the former chancellor, said: “I despair of the way in which EU leaders are constantly behind events. I do not think enough people realise how serious this crisis is, and how hard it is going to hit us. This is far worse than the banking crisis of 2008.”
There were signs of increasing nervousness on the financial markets over the Spanish and French public finances. Investors are waiting for the Spanish election later this month and the new government will have to announce spending cuts quickly to avoid the crisis spreading to the country. The cost of French debts rose to a record margin compared with those of Germany.
Debt crisis: while Rome burns, the eurozone fiddles
Italy on Wednesday became the first major economy to require an international bail-out as its debts hit “totally unsustainable levels”.