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The Times - March 31, 2009 EU must show solidarity with other member states to weather the economic crisis Sir, The economic crisis should bring out the best in Europe. The weak should be sheltered by the strong, who in turn should lead the way to a common strategy. So far, Europe is not rising to the occasion. The divisions caused by a worsening financial situation threaten each of the three big European projects of the past 50 years. Since 1945 Europe has enjoyed peace and prosperity. The central reason is the internal market. It has locked the economies of different member states together in a legal community that enjoys the free movement of people, capital, goods and services. If national financial armouries are deployed to boost national industries, and promote narrow national economic interests, the rules of fair competition and the internal market will be undermined. The unfolding financial crisis has demonstrated the strengths of Europe’s second big project, the common currency. Without it, some members might have encountered far greater difficulties. However, the euro project is incomplete. It has a central bank but not a central treasury, and the supervision of the banking system is left to national authorities. An absence of solidarity could become a hazard for the Eurozone. EU enlargement to the east is also under pressure. The economic vitality of the new member states has benefited the whole union in recent years. But now the protectionist statements of some EU leaders, and the unwillingness of some member states to offer financial assistance to Europe’s most vulnerable economies, has led some to talk about some old member states wanting to “undo the enlargement”. A new tide of populism and nationalism threatens to undermine the EU’s core principles of solidarity, tolerance and commitment to open society. Europe is in a critical position. Its member states are too integrated to be able to develop purely national responses, but too divided to decide on a common way forward. Europe’s leaders must show the vision and leadership to develop a co-ordinated position. It is a time for creative institutional responses at a European level on regulation, on the EU budget, and to encourage temporary and targeted stimuli. Leaders should consider setting up European Commission-led task forces to secure and strengthen the single market. They should consider creative ways of underpinning the euro such as Eurobonds or an EU version of the IMF. Western European leaders must go out of their way to show solidarity with their Eastern counterparts — including special measures for those struggling to join the eurozone — rather than the “each for himself” attitude that they currently convey. The EU began life as an economic project designed to achieve political goals. As the economic crisis continues, only bold political action at a European level will save the European economy and the European project as a whole. Martti Ahtisaari, Giuliano Amato, Timothy Garton Ash, Mary Kaldor, Lord Patten of Barnes, George Soros Asger Aamund ,Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, Svetoslav Bojilov, Emma Bonino, Ian Buruma , Manuel Castells, Charles Clarke, Massimo D'Alema, Marta Dassu, Etienne Davignon, Jean-Luc Dehaene, Pavol Demeš, Tibor Dessewffy, Andrew Duff, Sarmite Elerte Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Teresa Patricio Gouveia, Heather Grabbe, Pierre Hassner, Diego Hidalgo, Michiel Van Hulten, Jaakko Iloniemi, Wolfgang Ischinger, Olli Kivinen, Gerald Knaus, Mark Leonard, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Nickolay Mladenov, Andrzej Olechowski, Mabel van Oranje, Leoluca Orlando,Cem Özdemir, Ana Palacio, Diana Pinto, Andrew Puddephatt, George Robertson, Albert Rohan, Dariusz Rosati, Adam D. Rotfeld, Daniel Sachs, Pierre Schori, Giuseppe Scognamiglio, Narcís Serra, Aleksander Smolar, Erkki Tuomioja, Antonio Vitorino, Stephen Wall and Andre Wilkens

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