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EU Spring summit: Europe must decide now on its response to Greece


25 Mar 2010


EU Priorities 2020

"It is a matter of urgency that tomorrow's European Council brings clarity and unity in its response to the Greek financial crisis," said Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group leader in the European Parliament. "This is not a beauty contest for the perfect monetary response. We don't have the luxury of time if we wish to stem the negative effects of a lack of an answer to Greece."

"We have witnessed several weeks of uncertainty, dithering and squabbling between members of the Eurozone over the most appropriate response to Greek debt problems, in particular whether solidarity and stability are compatible. We now need a decision. Member States should approve the Commission proposal and just sign on the dotted line."

"Incredibly, the public statements of some members of the European Council have fuelled more anti-European sentiment in four days than all the eurosceptics have achieved together in four years."

"What is needed now is a European instrument that will help bring down interest rates on Greek Government bonds. The current debate in some Member States about financial bail outs for struggling eurozone members is poisoning the atmosphere by repeating the fallacy that Greece needs money. Greece needs our support, not our subsidies. The EU has the liquidity and credibility to support Greece without costing EU taxpayers anything."

"The irony is that the same countries calling for tougher rules for the Eurozone are the same who argue for weaker rules for governing our economic growth strategy."

Lena Ek (Centre party, Sweden), ALDE spokesperson on the 2020 economic recovery strategy reiterated her deception at the draft Council conclusions which appear to repeat the mistakes of the past:

"Europe is afflicted by a perfect storm of financial, economic and environmental crises which call for strong and united leadership this week."

"The Commission and Council proposals for the 2020 strategy remain too weak, perpetuate the errors of relying on the 'open method of coordination' and will result in another failed agenda in ten years time. Parliament recently called for bold proposals with binding targets and closely monitored by the Commission. But I see few signs of similar ambitious visions from the other institutions."

"Transparency and a focus on citizens must be our top priorities when designing our future economic and monetary policies."


For more information, please contact:

Neil Corlett: +32-2-284 20 77 or +32-478-78 22 84