Europe needs debt relief, not decades of austerity

Greece and Ireland may have to be allowed to default gracefully. Demand grows for independent audit to separate public from private debt.

From Donegal to the Algarve, to the streets of Athens, voters on Europe’s “periphery”, as economists dismissively call it, are slowly waking up to a sobering truth – they face years of austerity, yet wage cuts, job losses and crumbling public services will not extricate them from financial crisis. In fact, by driving their economies into an ever deeper slump, it may even make things worse. The pain could just bring more pain.

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