Craig Mackenzie – Daily Mail December 3, 2011
A key architect of the euro has claimed it was flawed from the start and efforts by European leaders to tackle its problems have so far been ‘too little, too late’.
Jacques Delors, the former president of the European Commission, said that ‘a fault in execution’ of the currency, rather than the concept itself, had led to the crisis.
Mr Delors, 86, who led the commission from 1985 to 1995, played a central role in the process that led to the creation of the euro in 1999.
But today he claimed political leaders had turned a blind eye to the weaknesses and imbalances of member states’ economies.
In his first interview in a decade, he said: ‘The finance ministers did not want to see anything disagreeable which they would be forced to deal with.’
The Frenchman said all member states had played a part in the euro’s downfall and that ‘everyone must examine their consciences’.
But he did single out Germany for insisting the European Central Bank must not support debt-stricken members for fear of fuelling inflation.
The problems were fuelled by ‘a combination of the stubbornness of the Germanic idea of monetary control and the absence of a clear vision from all the other countries’.
Mr Delors famously clashed with Margaret Thatcher during the 1980s over his vision for a closer Europe.
But now he admits that Britons, whom he referred to as Anglo-Saxons, may have been right to express concerns that a single central bank and currency without a single state would be unstable.
‘They had a point’, he said.
His intervention, 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 insisted that all European countries had to share the blame for excessive borrowing by countries such as Italy and Greece that have brought the system to the brink of disaster.
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.’
According to Mr Delors, 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.
Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted British interests will be paramount if the European Union treaty is changed to help resolve the eurozone crisis.
Mr Cameron held talks in Paris yesterday with President Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of next week’s crunch EU summit.
That gathering is expected to focus on discussions about whether fundamental treaty change will be needed to help deal with the crisis in the eurozone.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted yesterday that such reforms were necessary and hailed recent steps towards creating a “fiscal union”.
But British diplomats fear the 17 euro members could seek an agreement on new rules between themselves, effectively excluding other EU countries.