EC president says European leaders have not come to Mexico to receive lessons on how to handle the economy.
The opening day of the G20 summit was threatening to deteriorate into a fractious row between eurozone countries and other non-European members of the G20, notably the US, as EU commission president José Manuel Barroso insisted the origins of the eurozone crisis lay in the unorthodox policies of American capitalism.
As Europe‘s leaders came under intense pressure to act decisively to cure the euro‘s ills, and a campaign gathered pace to relax some of the austerity programmes laying waste to countries burdened with unsustainable debt levels, Barroso insisted that Europe had not come to the G20 summit in Mexico to receive lessons on how to handle the economy.
When asked by a Canadian journalist “why should North Americans risk their assets to help Europe?” he replied: “Frankly, we are not here to receive lessons in terms of democracy or in terms of how to handle the economy.
“By the way this crisis was not originated in Europe … seeing as you mention North America, this crisis originated in North America and much of our financial sector was contaminated by, how can I put it, unorthodox practices, from some sectors of the financial market.”
After the Greek election at the weekend, which may have shifted the terms of the debate over how to shore up the euro, world leaders meeting in Mexico focused on the European crisis amid strong signs of big trouble brewing in Spain.
Madrid’s 10-year cost of borrowing went through the 7% barrier on the bond markets for the first time in the single currency era, the level at which borrowing becomes unaffordable. The Spanish government demanded intervention from the European Central Bank.
Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, is expected to ask for up to €100bn in eurozone bailout funds for Spain’s stricken banks at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday, senior Eurogroup sources said. Voicing exasperation with the European response to the debt crisis, Robert Zoellick, the outgoing American head of the World Bank, warned the G20 summit in Mexico of a growing rift between the Europeans in charge of the bailouts and the IMF.