LONDON — Former ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet believes that the eurozone is not facing “an existential threat,” but thinks the bloc needs urgent reforms to defend itself from rising threats like populism
Speaking in an interview with Business Insider Deutschland’s Christoph Asche, Trichet called for the eurozone to have its own finance minister, as well as for a specialised eurozone parliament in the mould of the current European Parliament.
“Europe’s unity is more important for growth, prosperity and jobs than ever before,” he said.
“The Eurozone needs its own, strong finance minister and an EU-inspired parliament that has more power. That would be a giant step forward.”
During the interview, Trichet — who was the ECB’s most senior employee between 2003 and 2011, overseeing the bank’s role in dealing with the financial crisis and the start of the eurozone debt crisis — acknowledged the problems that populist forces are causing, but said that he does not believe it is an issue constrained to Europe.
Trichet sees the new wave of collective dissatisfaction not as a purely European problem, but as a “general problem of modern economic nations.”
He also believes that while eurosceptic politicians like France’s Marine Le Pen and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders are gaining popularity, there is not yet a serious threat to the euro.
“I do not believe that the eurozone is facing an existential threat,” he said. Trichet cited the single currency area’s ability to survive and even grow during the course of the financial crisis as evidence of its resilience.
“At the beginning of the Lehman collapse, 15 countries were members of the euro area, even during the crisis, four new ones joined, so that today there are 19 member states.”