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