The lexicon of the euro crisis: a guide
by our secret columnist in Brussels
Schadenfreude begins work on a dictionary of some of the previously obscure words and phrases we have all come to know, love and overuse during the eurozone crisis
Bail-out: Unimaginably huge sum of money, but never quite enough.
Contagion: The fear that the crisis – which at the moment is very strictly confined to the eurozone periphery and has certainly not entrenched recession and unemployment across a continent or brought a currency to its knees – might, if decisive action is not taken, spill over into healthy economies.
Credit rating agency: (1) If they give you a good score: Independent organisations whose sharp analysis and expertise clearly vindicate a government's economic policy. (2) If they rate you as junk: Unaccountable scaremongers that contributed to the crash and whose judgements create a vicious circle that undermines confidence.
Crisis: Apparently the only word in the English language that adequately describes the situation in which the eurozone finds itself.
EU summit: A crunch meeting – often, the last chance to save the euro – during which European leaders remind each other how serious the crisis is, say how determined they are to solve it, argue for a while, then agree that they should convene at a later date to absolutely definitely do something about it.
Firewall: See bail-out.
Fiscal consolidation: Another way of explaining "austerity" and "massive public spending cuts" that stifle economic growth and cause unemployment to soar. Imposed on bailed-out countries to reduce their deficits and to make Germany feel better about footing the bill. Copied elsewhere due to its undoubted success.
Fiscal union: Solves the problem of the crisis spreading from one eurozone country to another (see Contagion) by abolishing those countries that might be affected and merging them into a single superstate governed from Brussels and financed by Berlin. Agreeing to consider taking steps towards this at some point in the future is considered by world leaders as the key to solving the crisis.
G20: Like an EU Summit, but with a more diverse membership, plus better food, wine and accommodation.
Grexit: Widely adopted by those for whom writing the complex term 'Greek exit' is too arduous and time-consuming a task. Usage not acceptable in civilised society.
Relief rally: An ever-diminishing period of time during which markets rise in the wake of what appears to be decisive action by European policy-makers, or following a widely welcomed election result – before the reality that nothing has actually changed hits home and crisis mode is re-engaged.
Spailout: Like Grexit, but even more annoying.
Yield: Indicates the cost of borrowing for a government when issuing bonds. If the yield on 10-year bonds crosses the 7 per cent threshold, a magic yet invisible red line is crossed and the government in question's borrowing costs become unsustainable in a way they were not at 6.99 per cent.