The risk of the euro area disintegrating is “significant” if further reforms aren’t carried out, Economic and Monetary Commissioner Olli Rehn said.
“The way things are going and under the current structures, the euro area has a significant risk of breaking up,” Rehn said in a speech at a European Commission event in Helsinki.
A divergence in the sovereign yields of euro countries shows bets against the integrity of the 17-member currency bloc are growing. German two-year yields fell below zero for the first time this week while the yield on similar-maturity Spanish notes rose 11.8 basis points to 5.11 percent today.
A yield below zero means investors will receive less in repayments through maturity than the amount they paid to buy the debt.
Spain’s 10-year yield exceeded 6.5 percent for a third day, approaching levels at which Greece, Ireland and Portugal sought bailouts after being shut out from market funding. The euro has dropped 7.3 percent against the dollar over the past two months, nearing a two-year low this week, as investors grow more concerned Europe’s currency area will fracture.
The monetary union “has extremely tough decisions ahead and it’s important to face the truth,” Rehn said. “We must continue measures to balance public finances at the same time as we need structural reforms and actions that boost growth.”
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