EU personalities appeal for debt solution

Billionaire entrepreneur George Soros and another 96 European personalities, including former politicians, academics and businesspeople, have sent an open letter to eurozone country leaders, appealing for an immediate solution to be found to a mounting debt crisis that is threatening to bring down the global financial system.

In the letter, published in several European newspapers including Greece?s Kathimerini, the signitories appealed for the immediate activation of the European Financial Stability Fund, an agreement for a broad EU rescue fund that was hammered out by EU leaders in Brussels in July and has been ratified by all of the 17 eurozone member states except Slovakia. The government of Slovak Prime Minister Iveta Radicova fell late on Tuesday after a small party in the ruling coalition refused to back a vote to approve the EFSF in Parliament though the outgoing government said it expects to approve the measure as a caretaker administration later this week with the support of the opposition.

The signatories to Soros? letter noted that although ?the euro is far from perfect,? this should be a trigger for action, not resignation. ?As a reaction to that, we need to revise the weaknesses in its make-up rather than allow the crisis to undermine, even destroy, the world?s financial system,? they said.

Calling themselves ?concerned Europeans,? the group appealed to EU governments to create an institution that could provide liquidity to the whole eurozone, and boost the monitoring of financial markets.

Signatories include former French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, ex-German finance minister Hans Eichel, and Pedro Solbes, a former European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner. It also featured eminent economists including Britain?s Charles Goodhart from Britain and Germany?s Peter Bofinger. Greek supporters include the President of Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), Loukas Tsoukalis, and the investor Stylianos Zavvos.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel last weekend pledged to find a comprehensive solution to the eurozone?s ongoing debt crisis by the end of the month but have not elaborated on the details of such a plan.

Soros insists that it is possible for Greece to restructure its debt within the eurozone. He believes Greek bondholders will have to accept a ?haircut? of at least 50 percent.

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