The blame game over Greece was played out on Tuesday at the European Parliament as members questioned the head of the euro zone finance ministers President Jean-Claude Juncker.
He admitted that the response to the region’s debt crisis was too slow and showed the need for a revamp of the bloc’s governance system.
He also spoke out against criticism from the United States: “It is true that Europe has responded very slowly, not as quickly as it should have. I attribute this to the severity of the crisis, I attribute this to a lack of early analysis. Greece, Ireland and Portugal do not have that problems they have because they are members of the euro zone. The people who are unemployed in Greece and the workers in Ireland didn’t cause the collapse of Lehman Brothers and, furthermore, I also disagree with those on the other side of the Atlantic who are lecturing us, but who – strangely – ignore the real origins of the situation in which we find ourselves.”
Afterwards he expanding on theme that telling reporters: “I accept that the US President is addressing Europe and recommending what the EU and the euro zone should be doing — according to the US administration. But we have 17 democracies in the area zone, we have 17 governments, 17 parliaments. It takes time and the financial markets do not have time. The financial markets should respect the rules of democracy.”
Junker rejected the possibility of Greece or any other country leaving the euro zone saying that would make things worse and would “entail massive risks.”
He confirmed inspectors from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are returning to Athens this week.
They have to approve the latest austerity measures for Greece in order to get its next instalment of bailout money.