EC president says European leaders have not come to Mexico to receive lessons on how to handle the economy
by Patrick Wintour, Ian Traynor, & Helena Smith
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 with unsustainable debt levels, Barroso said Europe had not come to the G20 summit in Mexico to receive lessons on how to handle the economy. 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.
“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.”