G20: Europe lectured over crisis
19 June 2012
Libération, De Standaard, Die Zeit, The Indian Express
European euphoria over the 17 June Greek elections which returned a party favourable to the memorandum signed with the IMF, the ECB and the EU has been quickly dispelled by the G20 meeting in Los Cabos Mexico, where European leaders have been lectured by their international partners, and in particular the US and emerging countries, for failing to take rapid action to address the Eurozone crisis and relaunch Europe’s economy.
“Much of the criticism amounted to a thinly disguised invitation to liberalise the European model,” notes Paris daily Libération, which continues –
The European model is based on support for a social compromise, which in planetary terms is increasingly a minority view. So it was no accident that Commission President José Manuel Barroso European Council President Herman Van Rompuy’s decided to hold a press conference in advance of the official opening of the G20.
Both affirming that “Europe does not need to take lessons,” the two leaders were keen to show that they would not give in to external pressure, remarks De Standaard. The Brussels daily adds that Barroso was very dismissive in his attitude to countries that criticised measures adopted to address the crisis in Europe: “"Frankly, we are not coming here to receive lessons in terms of democracy”. In the same vein, Die Zeit remarks that “Europe will not tolerate taking lessons.” Reporting on the position adopted by Angela Merkel and Barroso at the G20, the German weekly remarks that the Europeans, who will not accept criticism of their management of the crisis, are insisting on the need to make the EU more democratic through greater integration. The Hamburg newspaper continues –
In discussions, Merkel and US President Barack Obama found common ground on the urgent need for progress on European integration […]. Barroso wants to adapt the financial structures of the union to pave the way for the introduction of eurobonds which, to date, Merkel has consistently refused to accept in the absence of greater financial and political integration.
According to the Indian Express, emerging countries view the European financial crisis and the response to it as “a leadership crisis.” The New Delhi daily explains that the EU sorely needs a statesman like B.R. Ambedkar –
Despite its inability to act, in time, competently and with authority, the EU will continue to seek a solution to its current economic woes within the framework of a union. However, it has to get its sequencing right. Last week’s initiative of seeking a banking union amounts to placing the cart before the horse. Without a fiscal union and an EU-wide bailout strategy, just a banking union will have no takers. The challenge for the EU is to find its Ambedkar. It needs a constitution that will enable a continental political leadership to offer continent-wide solutions to a continent-wide problem. Europe needs emotional unity as much as it needs a new strategy for generating employment in a globally competitive way. If this sounds daunting and impossible, then the EU should return to what many in Britain prefer – a normal single market, like the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA)! A single market with multiple currencies and sovereign member nations. Britain’s Eurosceptics in fact advocate this course. That the EU should give up the idea of a fiscal and monetary union and remain just a single market. But that would also imply the decline of Europe as a geopolitical power.