Let’s look beyond Switzerland: what are the biggest challenges facing the eurozone at present?
The eurozone is, along with the USA, one of the two biggest single markets in the world with its own currency, and is facing exactly the same numerous economic and structural challenges as all other highly developed economies. But, on top of the challenges faced by the other big advanced economies, the eurozone also has an important historic responsibility. The Europeans have decided to launch a very ambitious strategic and historic project: to progressively create an ever deeper union to ensure stability, prosperity and peace on our continent. Such a bold endeavour calls for all European institutions and nations to stand up to their responsibilities, even in difficult times, for instance when we had to cope with the worst financial and economic crisis since World War II. To illustrate the historic nature of the process, let me remind you that when I became President of the ECB, the eurozone covered 12 countries. When my time in office came to an end, in other words after an unbelievably short space of time historically speaking, the eurozone had already grown to 17 countries with the arrival of five new countries: Slovenia, Slovakia, Malta, Cyprus and Estonia.