Europe

Europeans reflect on euro crisis before Brussels summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Image caption European authorities have revealed a 10-year plan to strengthen the eurozone

People from across the eurozone have been sharing their views on the economic crisis with the BBC News website ahead of the Brussels summit on the euro.

Werner Brach, 72, pensioner, northern Germany

I am not against closer integration but I feel there is a lot of resentment in certain quarters so such steps shouldn't be taken in a hurry. We've come a long way in Europe. Let's go forward one slow step at a time.

We can't pool debt with eurobonds now when there is no fiscal discipline - because that is a free ticket for spendthrifts.

That can only happen when there is strict budgetary control in the EU, which could be through the European Central Bank (ECB).

A lot of Germans are pretty fed up. We have unemployment too. We don't have a minimum wage. But we are throwing money at Greece and Spain which we know in our hearts we are not going to get back.

I am disappointed that certain countries have disregarded all respect for money. If we all acted like this we would be bankrupt.

In the future I would like to see a closer Europe for sure. We enjoy travelling in Europe with no border controls. And if there are a lot of people unemployed in Greece they should be able to go to a country that needs workers.

We are getting closer. My wife is English and she feels at home here now. We are all basically one and the same.

Aonghus Macdomhnaill, 36, engineer, County Tipperary, Ireland

I am fervently against any further European integration. The euro is a means to keep central European economies - especially Germany - competitive.

European fiscal policy will never be set to allow for the periphery, nor should it be. But then nor should Ireland be party to it.

Ireland would not be in the position it is in today if our central bank had not given up its right to set interest rates or maintain its own exchange rate. We wouldn't have had a housing boom - that went bust - if we had interest rates of 8, 9 or 10%.

Our politicians have shown no leadership on this at all and there is never a debate on this.

We are being led down the road towards a federal superstate, but politicians aren't telling people what is happening.

A European federal state makes no sense for a small, peripheral, open economy like ours. Most Irish people have not understood that all these treaties we have been voting on are leading to that.

If we need to be a part of a bigger nation then let us re-join the UK where our voice would be bigger. Now, not many Irish would vote for that.

I think we should leave the euro. While it would hurt the country in the short term, the increase in our competitiveness would pay back dividends.

Sylvain Telliez-Puswella, 20, student, Paris, France

We are getting to a point where France and Germany can't agree on the future of Europe.

When the main countries in Europe cannot find agreement it's hard for there to be any solution to the eurozone crisis.

I think there should be closer co-operation between countries - that is the point of the EU. Countries should come close together, economically and socially.

The problem is that countries like Greece went their own way and now their problems have affected everyone.

They are in the EU so they should make a decision to abide by the rules.

People in France are still supportive of the EU, but right now people are more concerned about the economic problems in our own country than reform of the union.

At the same time, I think politicians in France are aiming to reconstruct the EU before they have reformed France. I would like to see changes here first - such as lower taxes to help the economy.

Eduardo Reillo, 51, unemployed telecoms engineer, Alicante, Spain

I would like to see a return to the European community as an economic space. The creation of the euro was not necessarily to the advantage of the population.

The euro is unsustainable unless the eurozone countries agree to relinquish their budgetary sovereignty to the EU.

Such a transfer of sovereignty will be politically impossible, the euro will fall apart and the EU will revert to the free-market zone it used to be.

The transition will indeed be tough but, in the medium or long term, the European economies will benefit considerably by being freed from the euro straitjacket.

If the euro is going to break up, it should happen sooner rather than later. If it happened in as orderly a way as possible then after a couple of years of recession we could have healthy economic development and a sustained recovery.

The situation is Spain has impacted on me very severely. I'm 51 and have been unemployed for two years. The economic situation has affected not only my ability to find employment locally but also abroad.

My mother is Swedish so I speak the language and have also been looking in Nordic countries for work. I note that Sweden is doing quite well outside the eurozone with the Swedish krona.

Maria Spinelli, civil servant, Bologna, northern Italy

I certainly believe that Europe should be more integrated and I think that Italians on the whole would like to see more integration with Europe.

What is most important for us is not to leave the European Community or the eurozone and revert back to the old currency.

The north of Italy is already much more integrated with Europe than the south, both economically and socially, and offers much better services and employment opportunities.

Italy has its own debt problems due to the previous government's behaviour over the last 20 to 30 years. In short, Italy has been tarnished by the old politics of [former Prime Minister Silvio] Berlusconi.

I agree with EU checks on national budgets, if eurozone countries want to avoid further debt. Countries such as Germany and France treat economic issues much more seriously than Italy.

Of course, eurozone countries won't accept this because they will feel they are losing part of their sovereignty.

I think eurozone countries will keep on pushing forward with the euro because if it all falls apart it could very dangerous and harmful for all countries concerned.

Interviews by Nathan Williams and Sarah Fowler