Over-optimism shown by the euro's creators meant the current debt crisis was inevitable, Jacques Delors, one of the currency's chief architects, has said in an interview published in today’s Daily Telegraph.
The former European Commission president also accused current European leaders of amplifying the crisis by doing "too little, too late", in his first interview with a British newspaper for almost a decade.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel kicked off a key week of talks on saving the euro by laying out a vision Friday for closer European "fiscal union".
Mr Delors blamed the crisis on "a fault in execution" by politicians during the currency's early days, particularly their refusal to acknowledge the threat caused by imbalances in the economies of member states.
"Everyone must examine their consciences," the 86-year-old told the Telegraph.
"The finance ministers did not want to see anything disagreeable, which they would be forced to deal with," he added.
In an eagerly awaited speech in the German parliament yesterday, Ms Merkel said the stakes could hardly be higher, warning that the future of the euro was "indivisibly linked to the unification of Europe".
Mr Delors, who was commission chief between 1985-95 and a key player in creating the framework for the euro's 1999 launch, singled out Germany as the biggest stumbling block in finding a swift solution to the crisis.
"A combination of the stubbornness of the Germanic idea of monetary control and the absence of a clear vision from all the other countries" was responsible for the ongoing situation, he argued.
Germany has come under fire over its refusal to allow the European Central Bank to create new money in order to buy government bonds from at-risk countries, fearing rampant inflation.
The former commissioner also accepted that "Anglo-Saxon" politicians and economists "had a point" when they warned that a single currency and central bank could not bring economic stability to a union of nations.