Financial crisis brings post-holiday blues to Europe

The Greek prime minister has made another appeal to his European counterparts. Photo: Reuters

If anything might ruin your post holiday glow, it could be getting back from the beach to remember that you're the leader of a country embroiled in the slow moving disaster that is the crisis in the single European country.

While you were sunning yourself the fundamentals of the situation have not changed.

But the countries in most trouble, Greece and Spain's economies have fallen further back.

But if you are the Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, this post holiday phase is the time to make one more appeal to your counterparts.

In a series of meetings, starting today with Jean Claude Juncker, the chief of Europe's finance ministers, he is understood to be planning to ask not for more cash, but for more time to make the punishing cuts he promised.

In return for huge chunks of cash to keep them afloat Greece agreed to slash its budget, to show it was serious about controlling its spending. But although it might sound entirely reasonable to ask for more time to make the cuts it is much more complicated than that.

With its economy shrinking rapidly, more time would not necessarily make it easier to make the cuts.

And if Europe can't hold Greece to these commitments why should other countries adhere to agreements they have signed up to?

Yet if EU refuses Greece's request, that could precipitate its exit from the Euro, with the threat that contagion could pull down Spain and Italy too.

Grappling with that may feel a long way from Angela Merkel's tranquil hiking holiday in the Tyrol or the Mediterranean beaches where Francois Hollande sunned himself.

A few weeks off might have given them, and the rest of us, a break from thinking about the looming threat from the crisis. But they have not in any sense made the problems go away.