By Martin Banks - 21st October 2008
The spark which set the powder alight must certainly be sought in New York, but the fuel which ignited it is as much in Europe as in American
GUE group leader Francis Wurtz on the causes of the financial crisis
The Socialist group leader in parliament has branded George Bush “the worst president of the USA in living memory”.
German MEP Martin Schulz also blamed the outgoing president’s economic policy, “supported by the right wing in Europe”, for the current world economic crisis.
Speaking on Tuesday during a debate in Strasbourg on the global financial meltdown, Schulz called for new market rules by the end of the year and praised French president Nicolas Sarkozy and commission president José Manuel Barroso for their “effective” handling of the crisis.
But he threw back at them policy pledges they had made only a few years ago, supporting the deregulatory policies of President Bush.
He also claimed right-wing leaders had performed a policy u-turn and were now supporting a Socialist approach to the crisis.
Graham Watson, ALDE group leader, said that the financial crisis does not signal an end to free markets.
He told MEPs, “Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, 50 million European citizens have been lifted out of poverty because the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital is the key to Europe’s prosperity.
“What we are witnessing now is what happens when markets lack transparency and effective supervision. In recent weeks the global finance system has stared into an abyss and we need concerted action to pull it back.
“My group welcomes the European council’s consolidation of the measures agreed by the euro area. They have alleviated the pressure on interbank markets. Now central banks need to steer interest rates downwards to alleviate recession.”
Speaking in the same debate, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, a Polish MEP and chair of the foreign affairs committee, said: “I am paying attention to two key words mentioned by last week’s council: responsibility and solidarity.
“I would add one more: action, without which there is the risk that European foreign policy in terms of energy security will stay only the paper tiger.”
EPP-ED group leader Joseph Daul said, “Twice since the summer, Europe and the world have come up against major crises, and twice, Europe has shown that by coming together with political will, it can not only adopt a swift and strong position but it can also influence and lead its global partners.”
The French MEP added, “Of course, the financial crisis is not behind us yet and it is during such situations that we can adopt rules for the future.”
GUE group leader Francis Wurtz told the watching Sarkozy that he could not share his diagnosis of the “terrible evil which is corroding our societies”.
“The spark which set the powder alight must certainly be sought in New York, but the fuel which ignited it is as much in Europe as in America,” he said.
“All political leaders who worked towards Europe’s strategic spin in the last 20 years are answerable to our fellow citizens.”