- EUobserver.com – Delors: EU is ‘on brink’ of collapse: Former EU commission head Delors has in an op-ed published in Belgian daily Le Soir and Swiss daily Le Temps said the euro and the EU are “on the brink” of collapse and called plans to have new twice-nearly eurozone summits a “silly gadget” that will not reassure markets.
- AFP – Euro and EU ‘on edge of precipice,’ says Delors;
For Jacques Delors, the leaders continue to ignore the abyss that threatens the single currency and European integration. Refuse, under these conditions, an indispensable closer economic cooperation opens the way for the disintegration of the community project
Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy may review their copy: for the former president of the European Commission (1985-1994) who initiated the single market, the German Chancellor and French President continued on Tuesday in Paris to formulate answers and fuzzy insufficient to questions posed by the crisis. While an immediate surge of cooperation, including in the form of a partial pooling of sovereign debt in the EU is essential to restore calm and confidence of the markets.
Time: Do you think the future “economic government” of the euro zone proposed by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy?
Jacques Delors: What do we talk? From a general commitment? In a new intergovernmental mechanism for displaying a minimum of cooperation and to minimize any implicit transfer of sovereignty? As such, it will not help. The Franco-German dialogue is ongoing and I welcome it, but Mrs Merkel, once again, made no concession on the merits. Another popular idea, that of a Minister of Finance of the euro zone, is of the same ilk: it’s a wacky gadget. European diplomacy does work better since the establishment by the Treaty of Lisbon, one nickname “Minister of Foreign Affairs of the EU”? Open our eyes: the euro and Europe are on the brink. And not to fall, the choice seems simple: either member states accept the closer economic cooperation that I have always claimed, or they transfer more powers to the Union. The second option was rejected by a majority of twenty-seven, is the first.
– Strengthen cooperation, it means take urgent decisions?
– Yes, partly by pooling the debts of the states up to 60% of their gross domestic product, the threshold according to the Maastricht Treaty. This must be done in the 17 countries with the euro. The states concerned would thus be covered by a partial guarantee of economic and monetary union, resulting in automatic drawing the interest rates down. I have always said that the success of Europe, economically, based on a triangle: the competition that stimulates, cooperation that strengthens and solidarity that unites. We must move to action. Because if it does not, the markets continue to doubt. I denounce rumors that rock awards, but I was always pragmatic. Yet since the beginning of the crisis, European leaders have missed the reality. How can they think that the markets will believe the promises of the summit of the eurozone, July 21, whether to wait until September to turn them into action?
– What do you say to supporters of the opposite option: a tough restructuring of the Greek debt and a possible output of the most vulnerable countries in the euro area?
– Who is guilty? Greece alone? No. It would be too simple. The responsibility lies with the finance ministers of the eurozone, have not called to account to the authorities of Athens or required audits statistical strengthening. Why was it left Spain to increase its private debt or Ireland unduly favor its banks? Measures have been taken and they have not been, while at the same time, the Community institutions, starting with the European Commission, have been increasingly weakened. Greece out of the euro would, in this context of widespread dysfunction, further undermined the single currency. As for the supporters in the most affected countries, a return to the national currency synonymous with inflation and devaluation, I understand their position and hope for a renewed competitiveness. But who can predict that the Greek drachma will find a good balance? I am convinced that the widespread impoverishment resulting from a release of the single currency will exceed the benefits of it. I finally added a political statement: the euro is a collective adventure. It was mismanaged, so correct. But still together.
– Other proposals are on the table, including strengthening the capacity to borrow from the Fund for financial stability, or the creation of Eurobonds …
– The Stability Fund, which became permanent in 2013, is a good thing and I also strongly advocates for the launch of separate Eurobonds to finance only projects promising. Imagine what a great debt of 20 billion euros spent on innovation could provide stimulation as the EU! But we are, once again, now on the brink. It takes fire engines and architects to rebuild. Partial pooling of debt is the pump to extinguish the fire and give meaning to community cooperation. Member States simultaneously, must lift their last six objections to draft guidelines on economic governance, including the European Parliament has consistently hard to make the content more automatic sanctions in case of fiscal slippage.
– Nevertheless: the disappointment of the euro are legion, the Germans do not want to pay. The disintegration is evident. It worries you?
– I repeat: the responsibility for this crisis is collective. So you have to get out, a tenacious will. The current risk is that the 17 member countries of the euro, on which all attention is focused, paralyzing the European project. Europe has huge challenges: its future relations with the United States or Russia, the global trade negotiations, implementation of a new model of “green” growth, its expansion in the Balkans, talks with Turkey which I always felt that we should not say “not without an appeal.” It does not face such a situation with half measures. Also be aware, as I had the reputation, slamming the door and say “Enough!” Other European leaders, starting with the President of the Commission, must fight for these concrete reinforced cooperation, such as pooling partial debts, including Angela Merkel does not want and that Nicolas Sarkozy does not dare ask. It is also, more importantly, talk to the Germans and understand. I love Germany. Its social market economy, the dynamism of its global SMEs, the parliamentary system advanced, which imposes its federalism, as in Switzerland, subsidiarity and creates a democracy “at hand” are references. But this is not a reason to deny the concessions necessary to continue to live together.
– Worst case scenario: your call is not heard. Europe falls into the abyss?
– I can not eliminate this risk. It is real. We will attempt to save face by replacing the current EU a large area of free trade. We will have a big market – with holes! – Instead of a greater Europe. I know of course, in saying this, let me answer that circumstances have changed since I left. I agree. My time in Brussels was easier. There was not, as now, the problem of rising individualism that undermines collective adventures, this clash between the local and global that feeds the fears and narrow nationalisms, or the dictatorship of the snapshot does not take into account the time necessary political. Okay. But what have I done, if not convince my interlocutors Helmut Kohl, François Mitterrand and Margaret Thatcher? My proposal, the face of declining EU was proposing a single market to stimulate economies. And it was a real stimulus for growth and employment. It is imperative to avoid the chasm, keeping a geopolitical vision in 2050, offer an inspiring project, and especially want a Europe strong and united in the world.
– The debt crisis all feeds Euroscepticism. Many, Switzerland, are delighted that the country has remained aloof from the European Union. What do you say?
– I always thought that the Confederation is a key role alongside the EU, while keeping its currency, its system and sovereignty. The most appropriate model, the one I proposed during my presidency of the Commission, following extensive discussions with Federal Councillor Jean-Pascal Delamuraz, seemed like the European Economic Area (EEA), which was then rejected. However, in my opinion, this equation is always true. Europe needs to Switzerland, a bearer of peace and mediation.
– The difficulties of the euro does not change this situation?
– They show how the presence of Switzerland in a large area of free trade is essential for the European economy Helvetic. It also demonstrates, through the rise of the franc, how the fates of the EU economy and the federal government are closely linked. Switzerland has a special system which, no doubt, is struggling to integrate into a whole community. This system would involve a lot of inconvenience for countries wishing to establish itself as major powers, as it has many obstacles. I am convinced that in contrast to being backed by the EU allows Switzerland to continue to play a decisive international role it deserves.