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Business Comment

Ben Chu: Welcome to the hotel eurozone

Outlook The single currency becomes more like the Hotel California with each passing every year.

Since 2010, Germany's Bundesbank has been resisting every attempt to ease monetary conditions in the single currency to help struggling member states on the periphery. The Bundesbank has also been insisting that official bailouts must be tied to deflationary fiscal packages. And if those countries aren't willing to gulp down that austerity medicine? Well, auf wiedersehen.

But the Bundesbank president, Jens Weidmann, modified his rhetoric this week and warned in an interview of "grave consequences" for any country that leaves the eurozone. The single currency, he said, is not "some sort of club which you can easily quit and then quickly sign up to again". So, as The Eagles sang: you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

Mr Weidmann's correct that leaving the single currency would be "grave". However, life inside the eurozone remains pretty darn grave too, notwithstanding the latests surveys pointing to an expansion of activity for the bloc.

But those signs of recovery might explain Mr Weidmann's new line. Once the strugglers have wiped out their primary deficits (before interest payments) as all but one are forecast to do by the end of next year, they will be able to fund their expenditure from domestic taxes. That will make them less reliant on loans from neighbouring states and make an exit more feasible. That, just might, be check-out time for real.