EU not at G20 to 'receive lessons' on economy: Barroso
(LOS CABOS) - Europe did not come to the G20 summit in Mexico to receive economic lessons, EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said Monday, in a fierce defence of the handling of the eurozone crisis.
Questioned about European Union credibility by a Canadian reporter, Barroso bristled and replied: "Frankly, we are not coming 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," he told reporters at a summit in the resort of Los Cabos dominated by talk about how to boost debt-ridden European nations and get the global economy back on track.
"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."
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel is under pressure to soften her hardline stance on the austerity measures Europe imposed on indebted eurozone members, which some argue have sabotaged economic growth.
Barroso said he expected G20 leaders to "speak very clearly in favour of the approach the EU is following."
European Council president Herman Van Rompuy, speaking alongside him, said the draft G20 statement showed "support and encouragement for the euro area countries and leaders and for the European Union as a whole to overcome this crisis."
"We are not the only ones that are so-called responsible for the current economic problems all over the world," he said.
"Reforms take time. We are correcting internal imbalances and a lot of other countries have to correct their huge external imbalances, but we understand that correcting the external imbalances that takes also time."
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