The worst has passed for the euro-zone debt crisis and member states have shown a commitment to take necessary steps in addressing short-term problems, including fiscal consolidation and competitiveness improvement.
The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the European Union during its tough times serves as a reminder of the basic purposes of the integration: peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights, said Olli Rehn, European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs and the euro.
He said he was glad, as a former EU commissioner for enlargement, that the Nobel prize foundation mentioned enlargement in the award announcement to the 27-country group.
"It recognised that the European Union has been able to use the soft power of the economic and democratic transformation widely in the European continent," Mr Rehn, a vice-president for the European Commission, told the Bangkok Post.
Mr Rehn, speaking at the sidelines of yesterday's Asia-Europe Finance Ministers' Meeting, said the general public in the 17 euro-zone countries has shown strong support for a deeper integration within the euro zone.
The members also support the Economic and Monetary Union's move to converge all 27 member states of the EU."We have all the determination to ensure that the euro is irreversible. There is no real prospect of any breakup or disintegration of the euro," he said.
The euro-zone member states are taking three important steps to address the problems of the euro-zone debt crisis.
First, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) has been used as a permanent bailout fund and the European Central bank was willing to take the unconventional measure of buying short-term bonds issued by troubled states.
Second, the euro-zone countries have shown a commitment to to consolidate their fiscal budgets and improve the competitiveness of their economies.
Third, the EU has addressed its long-term structural problems. It has proceeded with long-term integration efforts including the establishment of a banking union and a fiscal union in the euro zone.
"We can say that the worst is over [for the euro zone crisis]," Mr Rehn said.
He said what the euro-zone members had gone through for several years was the "rebalancing" after facing the impacts of the 2008 global financial crisis.
"The bad news is that we continue to have the economic difficulty of high unemployment," Mr Rehn said.
"The good news is that the process of rebalancing is underway and progressing, and decisive actions will speed up the end of the crisis."
Mr Rehn said Spain, which found its international borrowing costs jump on fears of a banking meltdown, has "actively participated in the market".
Mr Rehn said one of his key messages to the forum of Asian and Europe Finance Ministers meeting was: "We have reasons to be less pessimistic than in the past few months. There are cases for prudent optimism from steps we have taken."
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- Writer: Parista Yuthamanop