Former European Commission president Jacques Delors warned on Thursday that too little was being done to stop Europe and the euro sliding towards disaster.

"/> Former European Commission president Jacques Delors warned on Thursday that too little was being done to stop Europe and the euro sliding towards disaster.

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ANGELA MERKEL

Delors: ‘Europe and euro on brink of abyss’

Former European Commission president Jacques Delors warned on Thursday that too little was being done to stop Europe and the euro sliding towards disaster.

Delors: 'Europe and euro on brink of abyss'
Remi Jouan

In a hard hitting interview with Belgium’s Le Soir newspaper and Switzerland’s Le Temps, he criticized the outcome from Tuesday’s summit between German chancellor Angela Merkel and her French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy.

“Open your eyes: the euro and Europe are on the brink of the abyss,” he said. “To avoid falling, the choice looks straightforward to me: either member states accept the robust economic partnership I always demanded, or they transfer additional powers to the Union.”

The response of the two leaders, in his view, had been “vague and insufficient.”

Jacques Delors is a veteran of the political scene whose opinions still carry a lot of weight in France.

He served as finance minister under François Mitterrand from 1981 to 1984 and was president of the European Commission from 1985 to 1994. Le Figaro described him as “the father of modern Europe” in its coverage on Friday.

Delors’ daughter is Martine Aubry, a former minister herself and architect of France’s 35-hour week legislation. She is currently running to be selected as the Socialist party candidate for the presidential elections in April 2012.

Delors was particularly critical of the plan to create a pan-eurozone finance minister. In a barely concealed swipe at the EU’s head of foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, he doubted the impact the proposal would have.

“Does European diplomacy work any better since the creation, through the Lisbon Treaty, of a pseudo ‘EU foreign minister’?” he sniffed.

Delors supported the idea of eurobonds, which was rejected by Merkel and Sarkozy in their Tuesday meeting. The French Socialist party has also called for eurobonds to be issued.

“Right since the start of the crisis, Europe’s leaders have failed to see the reality in front of their eyes,” he said.

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ANGELA MERKEL

Merkel and Macron to meet for dinner in Berlin on Friday

French President Emmanuel Macron will have dinner with Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday - the first time this year the German chancellor has received a foreign leader in person, her spokeswoman said.

Merkel and Macron to meet for dinner in Berlin on Friday
Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Pool Getty Images/AP | Leon Neal

The working dinner at the chancellery will focus on “European policy issues”, government spokeswoman Martina Fietz said on Monday.

Talks will focus on the “coordination between Germany and France” ahead of an EU summit in Brussels on June 24-25, she said.

The dinner meeting comes after G7 leaders gathered in England at the weekend for their first in-person summit in almost two years.

VIDEO: Watch Merkel’s funniest momentsĀ 

World leaders were also meeting in Brussels on Monday for the first NATO summit with US President Joe Biden.

Subjects on the agenda included how to deal with China’s rise and confronting an emboldened Russia, ahead of a meeting between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday.

At the EU summit, leaders are due to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic, economic recovery, migration and external relations, including with Turkey and Russia.

At an online Franco-German council of ministers in May, Macron paid tribute to the German chancellor, who is bowing out of politics this year after 16 years in power.

“This last council allows me to say how much the Franco-German relationship owes to your commitment, your willingness to take action, sometimes your patience with us, and your ability to listen,” Macron said.

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