June 8 - Greece is the hot topic at the annual meeting of the Institute of International Finance in Copenhagen. The world's leading bankers, policymakers and economists are considering the possibility of Greece leaving the euro. Jamie McGeever reports
Copenhagen may be a long way from Athens, but Greece was on the lips of every delegate at the 30th annual meeting of the Institute of International Finance here in the Danish capital. The smiles and relaxed atmosphere suggest the world's leading bankers, policymakers and economists are pretty sanguine about the prospect of Greece leaving the euro. Or perhaps, they're just battle-hardened. Harvard economist Marty Feldstein says "Grexit" is inevitable. SOUNDBITE: Marty Feldstein, Harvard Professor, saying (English): "I think the Greeks could look back five years from now, if they decide to leave in the next six months, think they could look back five years from now and say we're very glad we did that." Even until a few months ago, this would have been unthinkable. Now, it's being openly discussed at the highest levels. Some observers say the contagion effects would be so profound, it would make Lehman look like a tea party. Not so Stefan Ingves, Governor of the Swedish Central Bank. SOUNDBITE: Stefan Ingves, Governor of the Swedish Central Bank, saying (English): "In our case we have actually done the exit, we went through the full cycle after Lehman. So we have had in that sense a pretty good and stable experience. That's not the case in a number of other countries. In those cases it's not only an issue of liquidity, it's a case of solvency or lack of solvency." PTC: Like every one else, the bankers and policymakers gathered here may not have long to wait. Greeks go to the polls again on June 17. And depending on the outcome, Greece leaving the euro could soon be more of a reality than many here would care to admit. I'm Jamie McGeever for Reuters in Copenhagen.