Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German finance minister, has told the speculators that they will lose if the bet against the euro.

"Whoever bets his money against the euro will not succeed," he told the Bild am Sonntag, which has a massive weekly readership. And Schaeuble is a pretty determined fellow as he continues in politics despite being confined to a wheelchair after an assassins bullet damaged his spine and paralysed him in 1990.

Just as the euro staggers under the massive weight of debt and the ravages of the market to the extent that constant crisis meetings are required to shore it up, we are told "All those in charge in Europe are agreed: the euro brings us all advantages. And therefore we will successfully defend it".

He also said that "Even if one of the small countries were to leave, the consequences would be incalculable". And pointing to the collapse of the Lehman Brothers bank he said that we should not make the same mistakes again.

With the meeting to come at the end of this week to discuss the setting up of a permanent crisis fund you get the feeling that the euro will be in permanent crisis. And you also ask what these claimed benefits are and to whom they are bestowed.

The markets have found out that the euro is built on shifting sand and speculators are furiously digging at the weak foundations in search of huge profits while the politicians frantically pour money in to keep it from slipping under. I know which side I'm betting on.

But of course, apart from consigning the euro to the dustbin of history, there is another way out. The politicians know this but not enough of them can bring themselves to say it as they are not sure what their voters would say. That is the completion of the federalist aims of the EU, or the eurozone at least for the time being.

To function properly as a currency the euro needs a single political and economic system operating. More importantly it needs an immediate single bond market. That is to say no member state would then be able to call itself 'sovereign' as all money raising, taxes and spending would be centrally controlled. The Germans recently stymied that idea, but it may only be a matter of time.

The political mood is one of no going back and no surrender but the markets will keep chipping away at the euro until it fails or helps form a new European superstate.

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