European leaders swear a Greek default isn’t in the cards. Their parliaments debate whether to bolster an inadequate rescue facility. The International Monetary Fund sends delegates to Athens to make sure it deserves its next tiny tranche of bailout aid. German Chancellor Angela Merkel regularly declares fealty to the euro.
They’re all in denial. Almost no one believes Greece is solvent, not with an economy shrinking and debt ballooning to 180 percent of gross domestic product, a burden that no amount of belt-tightening will make bearable. Europe ultimately needs radical change, including a fiscal union and the ability to issue bonds, much like U.S. Treasuries, that all 17 euro-zone countries collectively would stand behind. But that would require amending treaties, which each country’s parliament must approve. Europe’s voters deserve a say, too. All that could take years.