Even so, early alarmist fears that the return of the socialists could prove fatal to the project are receding. Many expect this weekend's meeting of European finance ministers to hammer out a suitable compromise with the French. Success would then allow the principles of the stability pact regulating the operation of economic and monetary union to be agreed on at next week's Amsterdam summit.
These hopes mean our panel of EMU-watchers are now growing marginally more optimistic that the project will start on time in 1999, reversing some of the slide in confidence of the previous fortnight. Graham Bishop of Salomon Brothers said: "After the nervousness, all the signs are that the stability pact will drop into place."
The political will is there, he said, and French concerns are likely to be met by a separate statement from the heads of state reinforcing the European Union's role in tackling unemployment. Alex Garrard of Union Bank of Switzerland also points to this as a possible way to deal with the French.Reuse content