12/3/11, "Jacques Delors: Euro was flawed from beginning," BBC
"One of the main architects of the single European currency, Jacques Delors, has said the eurozone was flawed from the beginning.
He told Britain's Daily Telegraph that the lack of central powers to co-ordinate economic policies allowed some members to run up unsustainable debt.
As head of the European Commission from 1985 to 1995, he played a key role in the process that launched the euro.
The comments come amid growing doubts over the viability of the eurozone.
In his interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Delors says the debt crisis stems not from the idea of a single currency itself, but from "a fault in execution" by political leaders who oversaw its launch.
He says they turned a blind eye to the fundamental weaknesses and imbalances of member states' economies.
"The finance ministers did not want to see anything disagreeable which they would be forced to deal with," the 86-year-old Frenchman says. ...
Commenting on those - like the British - who objected to euro membership by saying the currency could not work without a state, Mr Delors said: "They had a point."
The reaction of the current generation of EU leaders, he added, has been "too little, too late".
In particular Mr Delors identified "a combination of the stubbornness of the Germanic idea of monetary control, and the absence of a clear vision from all the other countries".
The BBC's Chris Morris in Brussels says the comments come ahead of a critical week for the eurozone.
On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe was working towards setting up a "fiscal union", in an effort to impose budget discipline by members.
She and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have called for EU treaty changes.
The two are to meet on Monday, to agree on joint proposals to be put to a meeting of European leaders next week."
It's nice he admitted it. As he a leftist, he's going to say there wasn't enough central power rather than just saying it was a bad idea. I heard an interview recently saying the Greek situation revealed that nationalism is a much bigger issue than had been assumed. I happened to see a similar point made by a youthful interested observer:
11/2/11, "Nationalist Greek Rebellion," Sarang Shah, Sarang Shah blog
"I also think it’s important to view Greece as a remnant of the former Ottoman Empire and a constituent nation of the Balkans, and not as a Western European nation in the same way we view France, Germany, Belgium, etc.
The romantic view of Greece as the eternal fount of western civilization is one of the myths that led Greece to unwisely join the eurozone, and other eurozone countries to cheer its entry despite clear economic indications that it wasn’t ready....Modern Greece, founded in 1948 after resisting a post-WWII Communist take over, has fairly weak institutions, and is often prone to single-party, personality-driven dynasties. These are core Greek structural problems that Greece would better resolve with its own currency than while chained to the European Central Bank.
And it is for this reason that it is likely Greeks will seek to reassert its own sovereignty, in a way that may or may not be gently guided by PASOK and the referendum.
The best option for Greece is to default, reintroduce the drachma, and in effect,
- reassert its national sovereignty –
- provided that its government doesn’t devolve into indefinite political turmoil."