One of the constant refrains of the Greek-EMU debt crisis is that for the Greeks, this time things are different. Athenian politicians cannot devalue their currency to restore competitiveness and debase the value of their debt with inflated drachmas because they are part of the euro. The Greeks can, however, devalue the euro. They have done so in spectacular fashion. Since the government of Prime Minister George Papandreou admitted late last year that the Greek 2009 deficit was 12.7%, more than twice what had been admitted by the previous administration, the euro has plummeted 18.4% from its December high of 1.5139. Even by historical drachma standards that is quite an achievement. While it is true that the devaluation of the euro does not benefit the Greek economy as much as an equivalent fall in the drachma would have in its pre-euro days because a part of Greek international trade is within the EMU and not subject to currency movements, an almost 20% devaluation with the rest of the world is not trivial.
It is also noteworthy that the rest of the EMU has been mum about the euro's precipitous fall. A good portion of the blame for the prolonged EU debt crisis can be attributed to the dilatory and calculated response of the European community. Is there a chance that the exporting nations of the EMU, rife with criticism of their Greek partners, have a stake in the devaluation of the euro?