Top economist warns of dire days ahead for EU | World | News

Otmar Issing, former Chief Economist and Member of the Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), has aired his fears over the fragility of the euro

The single currency on the continent looks to be on the rocks as troublesome member Greece toys with the idea of reverting back to the Drachma. 

Coupled with the UK exiting the bloc, losing a country in the currency union could be final nail in the coffin for the European project. 

And Mr Issing, who developed the ‘two-pillar’ approach to monetary policy decision-making that the ECB has adopted, claimed if the euro were to be implemented today it would never be accepted in Germany – the powerhouse of the EU. 

He said: “Even directly ahead of the introduction of the euro, up to 80 per cent of Germans were opposed to giving up the Deutschmark. 

“A referendum would have failed fundamentally, even the then Chancellor Helmut Kohl knew this. 

“The euro was essentially a political project, not an economic one.”

And he admitted despite its downward spiral, Germany was wedded to the euro now for better or for worse. 

He said: “An end of the euro would not be good for us considering the huge distortions that would accompany it.”

But the founding father of the euro blasted the ECB as crusading on a political agenda instead of a financial one with no real authority. 

He said: “My concern is that the ECB has imposed a political task on itself without having a mandate – namely to guarantee the composition of the euro zone in its existing form. 

“In essence, it is exactly what ECB President Mario Draghi has aimed at with his famous “Whatever It takes” speech. 

“The ECB fell into this role due to the failure of governments.”

The single currency – adopted in 1999 – has run into difficulties after the financial crash in 2008. 

Countries including Spain and Greece greatly suffered, with the downturm deeply hurting their economies. 

And while Spain has made steps to address its finances and has seen signs of improvement, Greece is still mired in debt

The Mediterranean nation has received multiple bailouts from the ECB amounting to billions of euros. 

Mr Issing said: “The Greeks, on the other hand, have attempted to blame the misfortunes on shareholders or on Germans, but not on their own policies, such as the more than 100 per cent wage increase in the public sector in less than ten years. 

“In Greece, the government is still maintaining an anti-growth policy. Italy also did not seize the…

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