European Businessmen Urge Support for Euro

Fifty of Europe’s most powerful business leaders call for a stronger political commitment to the survival of the euro.

The chief executives of fifty of Europe’s largest companies urge their political leaders to defend the European common currency and not abandon those nations in need of financial support. “The return to a stable financial situation will cost many billions of euros,” they admit, “but the European Union and our currency is worth it. We must convince our people of that.”

In a letter published in Le Monde, the French and German businessmen attest that the euro has been an enormous “success.” The single currency has strengthened Europe’s role as an economic power, they believe, and enabled their companies to expand their financing capabilities and boost their competitiveness internationally.

Europe needs a more powerful enforcement mechanism of existing stability agreements but “the exclusion of member states from the euro area or a split between a union of the north and the south” is not realistic. “Such demagogic proposals are not adapted to the gravity of the situation,” they write.

Instead, “member states must coordinate more closely than before,” both within the realm of economic policy and in their relations with the rest of the world.

Political leaders did agree in March of this year to improve competitiveness across the eurozone. The European Commission is supposed to monitor adherence to the debt and deficit restrictions of the Stability and Growth Pact but will not be empowered to sanction nations that are in violation of the rules.

Southern eurozone members, which are among the bloc’s most heavily indebted, remain skeptical of stricter budget rules as well as labor market and welfare reforms. Northern countries fear permanent bailouts unless the troubled economies implement austerity and improve their competitiveness. A strong euro is “the basis for future prosperity in Europe” though, according to several of its most powerful business leaders. “Failure of the euro would be a fatal setback for Europe.”