Soros: Don't Let Faulty Euro Destroy Financial System

Billionaire investor George Soros and 95 prominent politicians, business leaders and academics urged euro zone leaders to take swift action to resolve the crisis plaguing the region, calling for the creation of a euro zone treasury and stressing that the euro can only be saved if all 17 countries that share the currency act in unison.

George Soros
Source: World Economic Forum
George Soros

In an open letter published in the Financial Times on Wednesday, the "concerned Europeans" conceded the euro was "far from perfect", but added euro zone leaders needed to "fix its faults rather than allowing it to undermine and perhaps destroy the global financial system".

The euro zone debt crisis has wreaked havoc on the European banking sector, culminating in state-led bailouts for a number of banks which faced liquidity issues.

It has also forced German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy to announce plans to recapitalize Europe’s banks to avoid a full-blown banking crisis.

In the letter, Soros and the 95 others said they wanted euro zone governments to agree on the need for a legally binding agreement that would "establish a common treasury that can raise funds for the euro zone as a whole and ensure that member states adhere to fiscal discipline."

The euro zone’s attempts at enforcing a common monetary policy without a common treasury have been heavily criticized, but many EU member states fear a common treasury would infringe their sovereignty.

The letter also called for stronger common supervision, regulation and deposit insurance within the euro zone, as well as “a strategy that will produce both economic convergence and growth because the debt problem cannot be solved without growth”.

Until such a legally binding agreement is in place, euro zone countries should “empower the European financial stability facility and the European Central Bank to co-operate in bringing the crisis under control.”

"These institutions could then guarantee and eventually recapitalize the banking system and enable countries in need to refinance their debt, within agreed limits, at practically no cost by issuing treasury bills that can be rediscounted at the ECB,” the letter said.

Most importantly, the euro zone crisis needs a European solution, they said. “The pursuit of national solutions can only lead to dissolution,” the letter concluded.