Ashmore’s Jerome Booth puts pen to paper – in Merkel’s and Sarkozy’s shoes

Ashmore’s Jerome Booth writes the letter he says German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy should write to the eurozone’s citizens

Citizens of the EU countries within the eurozone, national parliamentary representatives, fellow heads of government, ECB board members, we face a crisis of confidence in the Eurozone today, and this calls for immediate and bold action.

Confidence is lacking at the heart of our continent. It is hard to admit, but the political elite, collectively, has let our constituents down. Though we acted in good faith, our institutions are designed for reaching consensual agreement under the conditions of economic stability we have been used to, rather than the rapid responses required today.

It is in this context that we have been chasing problems rather than getting ahead of them. We understand the differences of opinion and time it takes to build  consensus towards further political union, but we have to proceed rapidly now on the urgent issue of re-establishing credibility.

Hence what we want to signal today is a clear immediate and credible commitment to fiscal, and so euro, stability in the longer term, independent of the exact evolution which our political union will follow.

In a spirit of partnership and joint interests we, the leaders of France and  Germany, two countries at the heart of the European project that remember all too well the disastrous consequences of division on the European continent, propose today to lead Europe to stability through a pledge.

Our intention is to lead by example, and so our pledge is: Firstly a promise to meet certain medium and longer term fiscal and debt targets, and for these to be independently evaluated and, if necessary, credibly enforceable.

Secondly, it is both our personal commitments to work to make this promise achievable in practice at the earliest possibility.

We need to create a workable structure of trust on fiscal discipline between our nations which will last the test of time.

We shall follow up this pledge in the next few days with simple initial legislative commitments, but eventually with more detailed enabling legislation and  eventually treaties to ensure its continuance and credibility over time.

The European journey since the Treaty of Rome in 1957 has been one of delays followed by success.

The project has been, and will continue to be mainly a political journey. We continue to believe that where there is the political will, solutions will follow.


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