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The Euro Europe and the Markets

First and foremost European integration is a political choice. It is a complex, incomplete matter and unification is progressing slowly. The financial markets, which are the expression of investor confidence do not always understand this. Europeans are themselves in the grip of doubt given the rapid changes ongoing in the world.

However the European Union is still the most intelligent choice to provide Europe with the political, continental dimension which is so vital in the 21st century.

In the end it is quite normal that the markets - with their outrageous behaviour - refuse the intrusion of this unidentified international object into the financial landscape given their short and sometimes questionable scale of judgement.

But Europeans themselves question matters - it is no longer Euro-scepticism, it is Euro-flagellation!

No one should forget that we cannot go back on the rules, the institutions and the tools - notably the Euro. We cannot go backwards because it would simply be counter to the interests of every Member State. Moreover Estonia will join the Euro on January 1st - becoming the 17th member - because it is in its interest.

From this we can conclude that there are three requirements which are tantamount to an appeal to those responsible for the present situation:

The first is for the European Council to make quicker decisions, to show greater clarity, courage, audacity and vision. France and Germany have clearly defined the way: "The Euro is Europe. We defend the Euro because we are defending Europe."

So it is not the right time to be upsetting debate with other proposals. We have the means to face the present crisis if we correct our errors of management, that we reduce our debts and that we decide together on our economic and budgetary policies.

Before we share our debts, and it will come to that, we should pool our economic strengths, which really means coordinating our economic policies, our budgets and our fiscality! Let's get this economic federation organised so that we silence the sceptics.

The second goes out to Europeans, commentators, experts and all types of specialists: let's stop spreading doubt about what we deem precious - ie the Euro and the European Union. Everyone knows that they are not yet complete, that they have to be improved, that they are part of a slow process that abides by the rules of human time; this will necessarily be a long process given our History. But we shouldn't forget what they have given us and that they will bring us even greater stability, wealth, jobs and protection. We just have to compare Europe with other major political structures in the world to gauge the wealth of our economic and social model, which is of course being challenged by new competition, but which is still as attractive and which has the means to remain in front. Let's defend it.

The third appeal goes out the markets: if you doubt the political determination of European leaders to defend the Euro and Europe you will lose a great deal of money - because the European project is still fundamentally a political formative choice that is inevitable and beyond the point of no return. There is no point in going to war against it, to put it permanently to the test, to intimate - like some ratings agencies do that it would be better to invest in Trinidad and Tobago rather than in Spain! This is obviously untrue because when it comes to decisive choices, when everything vital is being played for in Europe, it is always the long term that wins the day even over the financial logic of the moment. This is what has already happened in Greece and Ireland, who have enjoyed European support. And if it is necessary new expressions of European solidarity will be made. Doubts and hesitation - which are sometimes legitimate - will fade in the face of necessity - as always.

Europe could have saved itself the present confidence crisis by integrating more rapidly. It will now achieve this under pressure. This will be the best response to give to all of those who doubt what it is capable of.