In an exclusive interview with fDi Magazine, Mr Raffarin said: “These past few weeks have shown us that we must fundamentally rethink where the EU should proceed from here. Are we in agreement to go further towards integration? This is the underlying question behind questions over debt and budgets.”

Mr Raffarin spoke of the paradox of the need for stronger government regulations to prevent future crises but also the need to provide financing and encourage entrepreneurialism. He did not have an answer to how this could be resolved, but said it was difficult for Europe to be a global power if it was so polarised and called for rapprochement between its countries.

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Known to be a staunch pro- Europe politician, he said that a national and multilateral action plan could end the current crisis and make the EU less vulnerable to future debt problems.