The difference between rescuing and saving
Are the leaders of Europe and some international institutions trying to rescue or save the troubled eurozone countries? Is there a difference between operations to rescue or save an economy? If so, what is the difference?
These two words carry nearly the same meaning in spoken Turkish. However, there are suggestions in some troubled European countries like Spain that it has been rescued but not yet saved. Some additional efforts are also on the agenda to rescue the Greek economy but nobody is sure that all the measures taken by European leaders, international institutions and the Greek government itself can and will save this country’s terminally sick economy.
Initial measures, both domestic and international, provided some relief. These might be defined as rescue efforts. However, the same rescuers have demanded the troubled countries governments enact more measures, such as cutting wages and salaries, trimming social aid, raising taxes and levying new ones, in order to control budget deficits and secure the ultimate repayment of public debt. In a democratic country, it is not easy to convince the people that the implementation of these measures is necessary to save the economy. As has been observed, they do not want to hear that rescue operations have been insufficient and that more sacrifices are needed to cure already sick economies.
The problem is whether these additional sacrifices can save the ailing economies or whether more sacrifices by the rescuers and lenders are also necessary. The best example is Greece. Every rational person is aware that it is impossible to realize the timely repayment of all of Greece’s debt. Or more simply, it is impossible to pay at least half of this debt, not only timely but at any time. Thus the lenders, if they really want to start a savings operation after their rescue, must accept this reality. The situation might be the same for all troubled eurozone countries.
The trouble is that some of the big lenders have their own problems which hamper the conclusion of a timely agreement. Although French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici rejects concerns about his country’s economy, third-quarter growth dropped to 0.2 percent in spite of all promises given by President François Hollande to solve the recession and unemployment problems. Now it seems that the president’s main aim is to only save himself and regain his popularity, which recently sank as low as 20 percent.
The same is true for Germany, once called the locomotive of the European economy, which now faces growth of just 0.2 percent itself. It will be very difficult or perhaps impossible to convince German voters of the necessity of conducting rescue or saving operations – whatever they’re called – on the eve of coming general elections.
The head of the other big lender, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, opposes eurozone efforts to avoid making debt concessions to Greece. She is absolutely right, but she is merely a European, not a European politician who faces serious domestic economic and political problems. Although these problems might be good excuses for France and Germany, they might not be so good for the future of Europe, which has already entered a second recession.
Years ago, Turkish youngsters used to say some members of the opposite sex were like NATO, which means No Action Talk Only. Unfortunately, this is the present situation in Europe.