SPIEGEL: Professor Eichengreen, you have spent many years studying whether the European common currency union could collapse. Your conclusion: It would be technically possible for a member state to leave the euro zone, but that politically it is about as likely as a meteorite hitting the Eurotower in Frankfurt. Are you sticking by that assessment?
Eichengreen: Yes, but with one condition. That at their summit in March, the member states face up to some unpleasant truths. Plan A has failed. Now they have to switch to Plan B. They must stop attempting to combat the crisis in Greece and Ireland by forcing these countries to pile more debt onto their existing debts by saddling them with overpriced loans.
SPIEGEL: But at the same time, Europe is stifling any chance of growth in Greece and Ireland by forcing them to comply with harsh austerity measures. Is there any way this strategy can actually add up?
Eichengreen: The present bailout attempts have never made sense...