PERSPECTIVES: Bold Blueprint For Action, Now, To Solve Eurozone Crisis (10/12)     Print

An open letter co-signed by Bertrand Collomb, chairman emeritus of the French bod.collombmultinational, Lafarge, who is a board member of the European Institute.

The letter calls on the leaders of the eurozone to move now -- to create a common treasury for the 17-nation group together with common supervision, regulation and deposit insurance. This fiscal convergence needs to be accompanied by a strategy that includes growth as the only way to surmount the debt problem, it states.

This call for action and specific blueprint comes in an open letter authored and signed by an unusually wide spectrum of prominent Europeans (such as Javier Solana),  together with financiers (notably George Soros), corporate leaders and public-policy intellectuals (such as Jean-Marie Guéhenno). The co-signers include Bertrand Collomb, chairman emeritus of Lafarge, the French building-materials multinational. He sits on the board of EI, and many of the other 95 individuals who wrote the letter have also worked with the Institute as speakers at meetings, as authors of articles in European Affairs and in other ways.

Their open letter, published in the Financial Times on Oct. 12, heightened the international sense that the euro crisis has reached a crucial turning point.  In a concise text, the authors were very specific in spelling out steps to be taken to save the euro – and perhaps even the EU. Their far-reaching goals of closer fiscal integration can only be achieved with legal changes that will take time to enact, the authors acknowledge, but in the interim, they say, eurozone governments can meet the challenges threatening to overwhelm the system – by making more use of the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Central Bank.  These two agencies can guarantee a recapitalization of the eurozone’s banking system and also help “countries in need” to refinance their debt, they said, adding that the operation could be carried out “at practically no cost by issuing treasury bills that can be rediscounted at the ECB.”

Perspectives is an occasional forum of The European Institute reflecting member views on topical issues.