Political hot potato
EC’s pomme de terre Barroso gets feisty. It was a pretty small and poorly constructed barn, but European Commission pdt Barroso stormed it in any case.
He was before the European Parliament today to report back on the results of the EU summit late last week.
UK conservative MEP Martin Callanan intervened, calling for the eurozone “to reduce in size so that some countries have the option to devalue their way to competitiveness.” Further, he said it had been the “policy of socialists and others to throw unlimited taxpayers’ cash at the bankers”, characterising the euro project as having been blind to the need for “permanent fiscal transfers from the North to the South.” (see here from 26m40s)
Bozo, fresh from having told G20 world leaders not to lecture him, felt emboldened to have a swat at pesky wee Callanan, delivering a couple of slaps in the process at UKIP MEP Nigel Farage, gurning next to his Tory chum. Conveniently the European Parliament cameraman focussed on the chastened pair throughout the pdt’s reply.
Here, in its approximate entirety, is BM’s rundown of pdt Bozo’s riposte, or watch it here from 5m34s.
“One important point was made by the British conservatives who had expressed some kind of satisfaction with the situation in the euro area. Let me tell you it is puzzling to seem to delight in the difficulties of the euro area. This is in stark contrast with the position taken by the leader prime minister David Cameron. The reality is that now there is a consensus including those states outside the Euro area that there is a need to strengthen the euro area. It would be a complete mistake to try to divide the euro area fromthe rest of the EU. I’m also very puzzled with the ease with which some of you are recommending some member states to leave the euro. This is in complete contrast with the position taken by the Prime Minister of Britain, who for example in Camp David explicity said that it was in the national interest for Greece to stay in the euro area.” “Some of you are suggesting that the problems of the economic situation are a result of the euro area and that for instance you disapprove of the big bailout programmes in the euro area. Let me put the facts straight. The country by far spending money in the banking sector is Britain, more than any country in the EU.” “The UK, in terms of recapitalisation measures since 2008 has been committing 82.9 billion euros, equivalent to 4.9 percent of GDP.” “Asset relief interventions are at 40.41 billion, or 2.38 percent of GDP.” “In guarantees, Britain commtted 158 billion, more than 9 percent of GDP.” “So the country in all the EU that has been commtting more taxpayers’ money to save the financial sector has been by far Britain.” “This is not a euro area problem, but a problem of the EU as a whole.” “I did not like at all the atmosphere following the last EU council, where some heads of state claimed a victory for some over others.” “What we need is a strong European team. It’s true that in Europe there differences in financial cultures, different perceptions, different sensitivites. Sometimes it’s not between North and South. Sometimes you find those differences in the very same country.” “I’m worried when I see some speaking of North and South and making some kind of easy generalisations.” “Those who know EU history know how negative was the role of prejudice and the complex of superiority of one part of Europe over another.”