December 8th, 2011
02:39 PM GMT
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(CNN) – It has taken more than 10 years but Project Euro is finally moving to its decision-making moment.

The core issue is how far the members of the eurozone are prepared now to move towards fiscal and economic union? How much budgetary sovereignty will they hand over to Brussels? Will they accept fines, sanctions, oversight and authority from the eurocrats?

For German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy this is crunch time. They want this done by treaty change so that countries have to make a decision.

European Commission President Herman Van Rompuy's suggestion that the necessary changes could be introduced using an administrative protocol has been rejected (rightly in my view). Whatever happens needs to be clear beyond doubt. Europe has fudged and blustered for too long.

The biggest thorn at this meeting will be how far the non-euro countries (especially the UK) are prepared to agree full treaty changes. If the 17 in the euro are forced to do a side deal shutting out the rest, then a “them-and-us Europe” will have arrived. It won't be a happy time for anyone.

In Europe there is always a fudge to be made, a deal to be done, a can to be kicked, some smoke to be blown. That would be a terrible mistake this time. To their credit, Merkel and Sarkozy have been clear - back the plan or face catastrophe. It is a simple as that.

The unfortunate point, often overlooked, is that the eurozone countries really have little choice. The euro doesn't work as currently constituted (it never has). They either change it or the project will collapse.



soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Timber!

    Timber!

    December 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  2. Alabama

    Hmm, I think I still have a few Deutsche Mark in a drawer somewhere around here . . .

    December 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  3. Samii

    This is not good news for the US. The world economy - It's like our lungs. One is the US and the other is Europe. If either collapse, it's like getting pneumonia. The entire system is affected.

    I am not promoting the Euro, my point is whatever happens, will impact our economy.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  4. JiminNM

    European countries need to ditch the union and the euro and regain their sovereignty, then prosecute the international bankers who have used fiat currency to enslave the people and pillage and plunder the wealth.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  5. ron j.

    this is the beginning of the collapse of the world economies!!! world leaders want to usher in a one world govt and econmy anyway.... i trust no one and i mean no one in political power and that includes the u.s. did u get a look at the GOP candidates? a discrace!!!

    December 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  6. Kevin O

    The Rise of the Fourth Reich. What Germany failed to do twice by war it is on the cusp of accomplishing economically: complete domination of Europe. I hear the goosestepping on the Champs Elysees already. Only Britain stands firm against the Hun.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  7. Jedidiah

    Will the "United States of Europe" ever work?

    December 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  8. A kentucky girl named Danie!

    Much agreed with everything you all said, but I would like to emphasise what samii said. All of the worlds economic structures are linked together one way or another to create a mass currency which has not been revealed yet.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  9. Nuno

    Fiscal and economic union HAS to mean that I as a Portuguese want to have the
    same salaries as a German
    Then I will be very happy to pay all the austerity they wish

    December 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  10. Jedidiah

    Well,its up to the EU to fix the problem of the euro cause the world over as much as i know,is not prepared for another economic depression!

    December 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  11. Jedidiah,Port Harcourt

    I'm personally of the opinion that if the EU is more united economically,politically and otherwise,the ailling euro would be redeemed from its presemt state.Like those ten countries who are not yet using the euro agreeing to the treaties Merkel and Sarkozy are about to put in place.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  12. anonymous

    @Jedidiah Well considering it has never been set up as a mirror to the United states or as a United States of Europe my answer to you is no cause it doesn't exist. On to the EU well No it wont work. Why, because aside from apparent economic unity there has been no unity of the people. Everyone in Italy still hates the Brits, no one trusts the Germans, and The Greeks are at the butt of every joke in the rest of Europe. Basically Europe continues down the same path it always has historically of perceived unity leading up to War.

    December 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  13. Rethink

    Dear CNN: Please use commas between two independent clauses. Thank you.

    December 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  14. CeeVee

    Why would anybody think that Brussels would make a better job of running the Eurozone? How many years is it now that we've been waiting for a signed of set of accounts for the EU?

    December 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  15. ABC

    who is paying for their dinner?

    December 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  16. Ely

    Solution: Countries like Greece OUT of EU!!!

    December 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  17. JESUS

    I remember someone stating that one day Europe will unite and that they didn't care if it was God or the Devil himself that they would accept him. When that time came. Well i guess that day has come. You must choose your master...

    December 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  18. trappped1

    Jacking around with currency exchange has been going on since the days of Serfs and Vassals.. Maybe that's where we"re all headed.. I like the idea of the pound sterling right about now, tho..

    December 8, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  19. Blinded by Economics

    IMHO fiscal unity was a good move for the core EU countries (those with fully developed and stable economies)... why it was ever extended to third world nations such as Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Greece, etc. is beyond me. And moreover, the decision to make joining the Euro irrevocable was not very smart... and now the EU has no means
    of suspending or kicking out non-compliant countries... plus a weak central bank doesn't help. The idea was good... but they should've kept the EU and the Euro limited to a small number of core nations... now it's just getting too big and complex and will eventually fail.

    December 8, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  20. Mike

    It appears that the UK was right about the dangers of the Euro all along. I can't imagine that they will agree to the treaty changes; that seems completely insane. What really needs to happen is an organized break up of the Euro that makes sense to everyone. It's obviously not working, and everyone needs an exit strategy. Will make it more difficult to move/trade between countries? Yes. But as someone once aphorized, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Europe wasn't broken before the Euro, but it sure is now. Let's go back to something that works.

    December 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  21. James

    It will collapse regardless, just as all fiat currencies are destined to do. Good or bad, inflation by Central Banks, among other factors, make it inevitable.

    December 8, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  22. theboss59

    I hope that it all goes under, even America You see sometimes it better to start over the to try to fix something that really never worked in the firs place. All countries leaders – bankers and higher ups are greedy low grade humans and deserve to be taken down. Now if the people keep a cool head and not go nuts we could build a new country that is for everyone. The greedy have to be put to Down. We all know what is going to happen so why not just get it over with and have some hope a building a great country broken up into areas that can deal and work togather. what we have now is just groups who think there owed somthing, those groups have to go......................

    December 8, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  23. Andy

    I truly think that if they do the right thing, the €uro will be broken up (most likely some countries ejected, and others struggling on). However, they NEVER do the right thing – they have a history of shoving legislation on countries whether they want it or not.

    I'm a Brit now living in the US, so I know what the EU is like. They literally want a EUSSR-type deal, where what Brussels says, goes. Sensible people would say no, but the politicos (eurocrats) stand in the way,

    The €uro can't continue in its present form. For the love of all things good, do what's right, and what's inevitable anyway ... please!

    December 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  24. Richard

    Hopefully the people of Europe will rise up against their political class and insist on retaining their national independence. It's a shame to think that a generation ago our parents and grandparents were willing to die in the trenches and on the beaches in order to preserve that independence, and that now our leaders are proposing to sell that independence in order to buy some temporary stability in the bond market. How far we have fallen. If the Euro can only be saved at the price of sacrificing our freedom and independence, then the Euro has to die.

    December 8, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  25. Chinatown

    New World Order in effect - the Banking Cartels have made their move for world domination and are succeeding - They have successfully bought off the US/EU Govts and now own the people's of Europe as indentured servants....The Revolution is NOW

    December 8, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  26. chicagok

    The EU is about to die. Socialism doesn't work in these small countries with unproductive people! Greece, Italy and France will become third world nations. They can speak Farsi or English! They can make a choice!

    December 8, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  27. CRG

    The euro needs to be supported by all the countries in Europe. Countires on the perifhery, such as the United Kingdom need to join in. The adoption of the euro was the best thing that could happen to bring a significant part of the world into the modern age. It continues to be stronger than the dollar. The eurozone represents the possibilities of a future, where strife and war are obsolete.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  28. DEEJ

    European Union, where we demand all of the benefits of a united Europe but also demand someone else fix all of the problems.

    December 8, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  29. Shane

    The Euro will survive. There is too much at stake for Germany to allow it collapse. There is too much at stake for the world for that matter.

    I would rather keep my money in Euros right now than buy sterling. Although the dollar would be a smart option.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  30. kevin

    What i think is, the people who are the mastermind behind the euro knew from advance this would not turn so well and they just knew we would have to come to this point in time so that they can put the hard choice upon people to either swallow the deal or face disruption and chaos. Out of great fear people will give in to these wrong decisions and time will show this project was a first day failure. Stubborn men and polictics games have cause millions and millions of damage and have set the whole europe in Jeopardy. If they agree with this new fiscal union they will reap the disaster that will come later from it. May Gods grace be upon us all europeans.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:28 am |
  31. Roberto Rizzo

    The Euro was a Bad idea from the start. it sounds good, but it was just an Utopia
    The only country who got advantage was GERMANY then France.
    The North countries in Europe hates the South, because, as the Brussels said We : italy -Greece – we are the GARLIC Countries and they don't want to help us.
    There is a lot of DISCRIMINATION in Europe, Remember we fight each other for hundreds of years.
    THE EURO should be TERMINATED ASTA LA VISTA Baby

    December 9, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  32. Roberto Rizzo

    IM ITALIAN I don't want to get orders by GERMANY and /or FRANCE
    I want my LIRAS BACK!
    is going to be a painfull time BUT WIT DIGNITY

    December 9, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  33. Krish

    I was travelling in Business Class on Lufthansa recently – and found the toilets were not accessible from where I was sitting. So I stepped into First Class and used the toilet there.

    Apparently this riled some Germans sitting there – I guess if a white guy had done it there would have been no objection, but a brown-skinned guy in business class – how can that happen? Can't be allowed!!

    This German-dominance thing is going to be interesting I think. I think Lufthansa is a great airline and cultural sensitivity is great among the staff too....but I wonder about some of the passengers – the looks I got were not good – I didnt really give a rat's ass but then again....

    December 9, 2011 at 2:49 am |
  34. knaraya936

    I don't see how this thing is going to survive....as Nouriel Roubini says maybe its time for everyone to realize that this Euro thing has failed and everyone goes back to their own currencies. The earlier this is done the better, instead of continuing with this circus – pretty soon we will have Germans goose-stepping in the capitals of Europe and more fodder for rebellion.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:55 am |
  35. Paul Johnston, PhD Economics

    THE EURO EXPERIMENT IS OVER- THE EURO IS DEAD AND BURIED– RISK IS TOO HIGH FOR INVESTORS WORLDWIDE! – GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN... QUICKLY OR LOSE ALL...

    Paul Johnston, PhD Economics

    December 9, 2011 at 5:42 am |
  36. whosurdaddy

    No more free lunch? This is against human rights lets bomb Europe!

    December 9, 2011 at 6:07 am |
  37. poll4europe

    EUROPE and the EURO.

    Or OUR future.r.

    December 2011

    What is the future of Europe ????

    Do we want to grow???? And what are we willing to share ???

    How can we grow strong and stronger???

    Only by changing !! And a lot of people will not like any changes and therefore halt progress.

    I have to admit I am a royalist, but at the same time royalty has no longer a direct place in a Europe that wants to grow and compete on the world market.

    Look at the British Empire and at the Kingdom of the Netherlands. World powers before the last war and now just as much members of the EU as all the other states. Kings and Queens now have ceremonial roles, far different from their previous roles as Head of State. I am sorry to say that I see no future for these ruling families in the future of a new Europe.

    What is their role once we sort of have a President of Europe????? No more than a puppet and who wants to be seen as a puppet ?

    If countries want to be a member of a United Europe we may want to take a look at the United States. How much as we do not like to compare ourselves with Uncle Sam. There we see states united under one flag, with one language, one dollar and with one government in Washington DC. If we want to copy part of that we must give away local and national powers to an elected European Central Government. And we better see to it that we will have more elected parties than the two in the American electoral system.

    I always think about my grandparents who were born just before 1900. The changes they have seen in the world are far larger than the switch we have to make.

    It is a lot about emotions now.

    Do we lose our King or our Queen, our flag our national anthem, maybe our language??? All nasty things, but something has to give in order to proceed. Do we lose control of our own little national destiny, YES. But what do we stand to gain?????

    We have to look to the future. If we do not take steps soon we certainly will lose out to the big ones of the future China, USA, India, Brazil, Russia.

    We the people have to decide what destiny we want.

    Just chose.

    With love,

    December 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  38. angel

    The problem is Choice as always has been. The options of choice were masterminded by bank cartels and the ones over their shoulders as to leave little choice to people and to rule with fear and deception. This is true now – to be or not to be. That's the question of independence of people or Euro.

    December 14, 2011 at 2:38 am |
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