Former top EU officials criticise weak vision in debt crisis

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Former top EU officials criticised a lack of vision in the handling of the current debt crisis, and urged governments to team up with the private sector to buy debt from struggling countries, on Friday.

The five former senior officials complained that EU leaders lacked a "clear vision" for the eurozone, the survival of which some say is threatened by contagion from the crisis that has brought Greece close to bankruptcy.

"States must guarantee individuals' deposits" and those who invested in Greece's sovereign debt despite the risks should "bear their share of the burden," they said in an editorial in French newspaper Le Monde.

They called for measures to "lighten the burden" of citizens in debt-laden countries such as Greece, via "buy-backs, using EU or international funds, of part of the most downgraded sovereign debts, in order to cancel them."

The piece was signed by the French former European Commission president Jacques Delors, Spain's former prime minister Felipe Gonzalez and Italian former prime minister Romano Prodi.

The other two main signatories were the Belgian ex-vice president of the commission Etienne Davignon and Antonio Vitorino, a Portuguese former EU commissioner.

The five also backed proposals for a European Union-wide system of financial market regulation.

"These principles are simple," they wrote. "If the main political leaders of the European Union adopt them, and if the states, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund apply them, solutions can be found."

© 2011 AFP

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