Greek PM crit­i­cizes EU for de­lay in show­ing unity over debt cri­sis

Cape Breton Post - - COMMENT -

ATHENS (AP) — Greek Prime Min­is­ter Ge­orge Pa­pan­dreou on Fri­day crit­i­cized the Euro­pean Union as “timid” and too slow to ex­press uni­fied sup­port for his coun­try dur­ing its fi­nan­cial cri­sis, a day af­ter Greece won back­ing — but no detailed bailout plan — at an EU sum­mit.

Speak­ing dur­ing a Cab­i­net meet­ing on his re­turn from the meet­ing Thurs­day in Brus­sels, Pa­pan­dreou said that while the coun­try had re­ceived a state­ment of sup­port, de­lays and con­flict­ing state­ments over the past few months had made things worse.

“In the last few months of this cri­sis, the EU gave its po­lit­i­cal sup­port. There is also in­sti­tu­tional sup­port of our pro­gram,” Pa­pan­dreou said dur­ing the Cab­i­net meet­ing.

“But in the bat­tle against the im­pres­sions and the psy­chol­ogy of the mar­ket, it was at the very least timid,” he said.

“For what the fu­ture holds re­gard­ing the cri­sis there were, in the last months in the EU, mul­ti­ple voices, dif­fer­ences and di­verg­ing state­ments. Spec­u­la­tion about our coun­try which cre­ated a psy­chol­ogy of im­mi­nent col­lapse. Proph­e­sies which risked be­com­ing self-ful­fill­ing.”

Greece’s debt cri­sis has plunged the euro, the cur­rency used by 16 EU na­tions, into the worst tur­moil it has seen since it was launched 11 years ago. Pa­pan­dreou, who took of­fice in Oc­to­ber, blamed the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment’s “crim­i­nal poli­cies” for fal­si­fy­ing statis­tics that meant the in­com­ing So­cial­ists had to re­vise the bud­get deficit fig­ures to 12.7 of eco­nomic out­put for 2009, far above the 3.7 per cent es­ti­mated the pre­vi­ous spring.

The mar­kets have ham­mered Greece in re­cent weeks, push­ing up the spreads, or dif­fer­ence be­tween 10-year Greek bonds and a the Ger­man bench­mark bonds which mea­sure the mar­ket’s per­cep­tion of a risk of de­fault. Greece’s prob­lems have also weighed on the euro.

“ There was a lack of co-or­di­na­tion be­tween the var­i­ous bodies of the Union, the Com­mis­sion, the mem­ber states, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank. Even dif­fer­ing opin­ions within those bodies,” Pa­pan­dreou said, adding that there were di­ver­gent opin­ions as to what should be done: “mul­ti­ple doc­tors with dif­fer­ing pre­scrip­tions over the pa­tient that is Greece.”

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