Speaking at an event in Strasbourg marking the 20th year since the launch of the euro currency, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday expressed regret that the European Union had not shown sufficient solidarity with Greece when the crisis erupted.
According to Juncker, the austerity policies were not imposed in the eurozone to “punish” workers and the unemployed but because it was necessary to carry out structural reforms. Nevertheless, he added, he was sorry that so much emphasis had been given to the influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
At the time when the crisis broke out, Juncker noted, there were many, including him, who believed that Europe had sufficient strength to handle the crisis without involving the IMF. If California faced a crisis, he pointed out, it would have turned to the United States, not the IMF, and this is what should have happened in Europe.
“I am also sorry for the lack of solidarity when what we call the Greek crisis erupted,” Juncker said, noting that the EU had not shown sufficient solidarity with Greece. He also expressed his satisfaction that Greece, along with Portugal and the other countries in crisis “have found a place, if not in the sun, then at least among the healthy countries.”