Sarkozy: ‘Failure of euro would be cataclysmic’

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – French President Nicolas Sarkozy has come out swinging in defence of Europe’s single currency, saying France and Germany “will never let the euro fail.”

In a keynote speech to some of the most powerful businessmen and politicians on the planet at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday (27 January), Mr Sarkozy attempted to kill off suggestions that the euro could splinter.

“The euro is Europe. And Europe spells 60 years of peace. Therefore we will never let the euro go or be destroyed,” he said, according to reports from the Swiss resort town.

“To those who bet against the euro, watch out for your money because we are fully determined to defend the euro.”

“Ms Merkel and I will never – do you hear me? – never let the euro fall.”

Such an event would be “cataclysmic”, he said.

“The consequences of a failure of the euro would be so cataclysmic that we could not possibly entertain the idea. We couldn’t even play with the idea of entertaining the idea.”

“To imagine that we might pull out, that we might abandon the euro, is to show a complete misunderstanding of the state of mind of Europeans who have been at each others’ throats for decades and who have only one thing in mind – peace and co-operation,” he went on.

He added that Europe’s identity is inseparable from the single currency.

“To imagine that we might pull out shows a complete misunderstanding of the European psychology. It has to do with our identities as Europeans.”

He also took a swipe at commodity speculators, a growing theme of his tenure this year as chairman of the G20 and G8. The president has said repeatedly in the last few weeks that he holds investors responsible for the rise in food and energy prices that have aggravated riots in some developing nations.

He criticised the derivatives market for the role he believes it played in the economic crisis.

“They played a ‘pass the parcel’ game which was, of course, very profitable because everyone you passed the parcel to made money – until finally there was no one to pass it to,” he said.