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4:24pm UK, Saturday December 03, 2011
A key architect of the eurozone reveals it was flawed from the beginning and efforts to tackle its problems have so far been “too little, too late”.
Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission, suggested “a fault in execution” meant the present crisis in the eurozone was inevitable.
Leaders in the 1990s chose to turn a blind eye to the economic weaknesses of some member states and the response, now the issues had surfaced, had generally been inadequate.
His comments in an interview with The Daily Telegraph came as France and Germany edged towards closer fiscal union to head off a potentially disastrous collapse of the single currency.
Mr Delors said the crisis stems from ‘a fault in execution’ by political leaders
Mr Delors was head of the commission from 1985 to 1995 and known for his clashes with Margaret Thatcher. He became an object of ridicule in the eurosceptic press.
He has admitted that when “Anglo-Saxons” warned a single central bank and currency without a single state would be inherently unstable “they had a point”.
“The finance ministers did not want to see anything disagreeable which they would be forced to deal with,” he said.
Mr Delors insisted all European countries had to share the blame for the excessive borrowing by countries such as Italy and Greece that have brought the system to the brink of disaster.
“Everyone must examine their consciences,” he added.
However, the 86-year-old singled out Germany for its strict insistence that the European Central Bank must not support debt-stricken members for fear of fuelling inflation.
Governments and companies are preparing for a currency collapse
The euro’s troubles spring from “a combination of the stubbornness of the Germanic idea of monetary control and the absence of a clear vision from all the other countries”, he said.
Such is the scale of the crisis, he warned, that “even Germany” will struggle to find a solution. “Markets are markets. They are now bedevilled by uncertainty.”
Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to protect British interests will be paramount if the European Union treaty is changed to help resolve the eurozone crisis.
But according to Mr Delors, Britain is not “sharing the burden” because it is not in the euro.
But he claimed the UK is “just as embarrassed as the Europeans by the financial crisis”, as some of the measures put in place to deal with the crisis pose a threat to British interests.