EU must close ranks to beat eurozone crisis: Danish PM
STRASBOURG (FRANCE) THE European Union must not let itself be torn apart as it faces a relentless financial crisis, Denmark’s premier told the European Parliament on Wednesday.
The comments by Prime Minister Helle Thorning- Schmidt, whose country currently holds the European Union presidency, evoked anti-Communist icon Vaclav Havel’s belief that Europe “will never again allow itself to be divided.” “At this critical time in our history, it is our shared responsibility to fulfil Havel’s belief in Europe,” Thorning-Schmidt told the European Parliament, presenting the programme for Denmark’s six-month turn at the rotating presidency.
“Europe is in a profound economic crisis that has rocked the very foundation of our cooperation,” she added. “The path out of this crisis goes through more Europe, not less Europe. In current conditions, to be inward-looking is to be blind to reality.” European leaders have struggled for two years to find a lasting solution to the debt crisis that has plagued the eurozone, requiring the bailouts of Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
It has also stoked tensions between northern and southern countries, as well as euro and non-euro nations. Denmark, which opted out of the common currency, has pledged to be a “bridge” between different sides during its presidency, which lasts until June 30.
“It is more evident that ever that we share a common destiny,” Thorning- Schmidt said. “It is of paramount importance that we work together and stand together.” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the EU’s executive “looks to the Danish presidency to uphold ... the principles of unity between all member states.” At the same time, he blasted EU countries for not doing enough to overcome the crisis.
“Let’s be frank: Action by the member states has been uneven and, in some cases, insufficient,” Barroso told EU lawmakers during their plenary in Strasbourg, France.
He specifically singled out France, Germany and Britain for holding up the introduction of a unified EU patent system, which has been in the works for decades.
The three countries are squabbling over which city should host the future EU patent court, with Munich, Paris and London in the running.
It is the last controversy that needs to be resolved before the EU patent is finally approved.
“Frankly, it is not acceptable ... that such a crucial initiative is blocked over such a trivial disagreement,” Barroso said.