Is it time the money men took over the euro asylum?

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 20 December 2011 in Diary
Darren Ennis believes it's time we heard some straight-talking on the euro and it won't come from the politicians

It is now quite clear: European Union leaders do not understand the markets and the markets do not understand, certainly don't believe in, or trust EU leaders or how the 27-nation project works.

Less than a fortnight after the latest summit deal to save the euro and solve Europe's economic crisis, we have had further downgradings by the ratings agencies, the Euro has plummeted to its lowest ebb in months and the head of the IMF has predicted another depression worse than the one which swept across the globe in the 1930s. Even the deal reached by every EU country except the UK is starting to unravel with other member states taking a leaf out of London's book.

The reason why this latest attempt to rescue the euro from the crisis has failed to convince the markets is because the deal is too complicated, hypothetical and nobody understands how it will work. Moreover it is a deal based on politics, not economics.

But we have been here before too many times. Stocks and shares tick up a notch and the euro spikes when the markets open the day after a deal, only to nose-dive once the details have been absorbed and analysed by the dealers and traders. That's because after nearly 10 years on both sides of the EU decision-making process, I have learned that EU leaders don't do detail. They make political decisions, not economic ones.

So, like in Italy, is it time we allowed the technocrats to run the EU and Eurozone asylum and the diplomats and politicians left the Justus Lipsius building (where EU summits are held)?

Well in some ways this deal is supposed to do just that by giving more power to the European Commission -- the so-called EU executive arm. The only problem is that under EU treaties, this body is meant to be non-political, but its President and many of his cast of 26 Commissioners are anything but, and are constantly bullied by Berlin, Paris and other EU capitals.

In my view, it is time to wheel in the money men. Those people who really run the Europe's economy. People like Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, George Soros, Lakshmi Mittal or the CEOs of many successful European companies like Danone, Siemens, Tesco or Diageo.

The EU loves setting up groups of 'wise-men', so why not appoint one on how to solve the euro crisis? You could throw in a few economists for good measure, but then again, they only sit on the fence and speak in riddles. What the euro needs is plain, straight-talking.

How many EU leaders or EU finance ministers have created and/or run their own businesses? How many have made money in the markets? Few I would suggest. (Silvio Berlusconi aside!)

How many of the diplomats or bureaucrats that wielded the pen on the last summit deal can say the same or even boast of an economic background? Many come from their foreign ministries or the office of their Prime Ministers. (Interestingly David Cameron's advice came from his Treasury and he has appointed a former Treasury official to take over as EU ambassador -- a post traditionally coveted by the Foreign Office)

Of course the politicians will say that 'big business' had a role in creating the euro mess and are part of the problem, but they need to ask themselves: are they doing any better in solving it?

Darren Ennis is a Director at MHP Communications

Tags: Alan Sugar, David Cameron, EU, Euro, European Union, George Soros, Lakshmi Mittal, Richard branson, Silvio Berlusconi

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