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'Give up sovereignty to save the euro,' says Spanish PM

Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, has called for the eurozone to have "centralised control" over the budgets of all the countries using the euro.

Mr Rajoy has become the latest European politician to call for countries to, in effect, abandon their sovereignty in a last ditch attempt to save the beleaguered currency.

Mr Rajoy said a new central authority would go a long way to alleviating Spain's economic crisis as it would send a clear signal to investors that the single currency is an irreversible project.

Speaking in Madrid yesterday, he said: "The European Union needs to reinforce its architecture. This entails moving towards more integration, transferring more sovereignty, especially in the fiscal field.

"And this means a compromise to create a new European fiscal authority which would guide the fiscal policy in the eurozone, harmonise the fiscal policy of member states and enable a centralised control of public finances."

Mr Rajoy is not the first to propose creating such an authority but the fact that Spain -- a country deemed too big to fail -- is backing the move may now accelerate talks.

Its set-up would require a change in the European Union treaties, a usually lengthy process which requires ratification in the 27 member states of the bloc, including those such as the UK which do not use the euro.

Germany, the de facto guarantor of the euro, has said further integration in Europe was required, including additional controls on national public finances.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said there should be no taboos when discussing such issues.

Last week Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, said that the ECB could not "fill the vacuum of the lack of action by national governments on the structural problem" and that countries needed to give up some of their sovereignty.


Sunday Independent