Friday 15 December 2017

Crisis in the eurozone: the quotes of the week

"Sarkozy must not take lessons in patriotism from those who think they are defending our national interest by caricaturing our German allies."

Francois Fillon, French PM.

"The use of these terms sends shivers down my spine. It's shameful, through partisan spite, to weaken our most precious gain -- Franco-German reconciliation and friendship. We should avoid statements that could give the impression that we're in conflict when we have differences to resolve in Europe's general interest."

Alain Juppe, French foreign minister, who warned against risking re-awakening old demons of Germanophobia in France.

"Europe is hanging from a thread and Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy are driving it to the wall. Europe is not the Europe of the French and German leaders."

German Green Party leader, Claudia Roth.

"We are aware no country can teach another lessons and that isolation or stubbornness are the worst attitudes. Europe cannot be reduced to an organisation of austerity."

Francoise Hollande, leading member of the French opposition, Social Democrat Party (SDP).

"You all know Helmut Schmidt's sentence, 'Whoever has visions should go to a doctor,' he said. Well, with respect to Helmut, I don't agree. Whoever has visions should come back to us."

Sigmar Gabriel, SDP leader.

"We Germans cannot force our economic or social model on to European partners as model or benchmark. . . merely offer it as one example among many realities. Without growth and new jobs no state can reorganise its budget. Whoever thinks Europe can return to health alone through budgetary cuts or tax increases should study the effect of (Weimar Republic chancellor) Heinrik Bruning's deflationary politics."

Helmut Schmidt, former German chancellor.

"We have to find a narrative that grabs the young generation and convinces our population that solidarity payments for Europe are the right thing."

Peer Steinbruck, SDP parliamentarian.

"The agencies were one of the motors of the crisis in 2008. Are they becoming a motor in the current crisis? That's a real question we all need to think about."

Christian Noyer, Bank of France governor.

"I have to wonder that this news reaches us out of the clear blue sky at the time of the European summit -- this can't be a coincidence."

Jean-Claude Junker, Eurogroup leader, describing the S&P threat.

"The truth is that markets in the whole world right now don't trust the euro area at all. The ratings issue has forced leaders to do what we've promised."

Wolfgang Schauble, German finance minister.

"The EU of 27 would have been all right by me if Britain had said yes. But we are in a crisis and we have managed to push through quickly what we see as indispensible. Britain didn't want to take part. We've always respected that. Yet Britain has always played a positive role. The stability union will be developed further, step by step, but the breakthrough has been achieved."

Angela Merkel, German chancellor.

"This is a summit that will go down in history. We would have preferred a reform of the treaties among 27. That wasn't possible given the position of our British friends. And so it will be through an intergovernmental threat of 17, but open to others."

Nicolas Sarkozy, French president.

Sunday Independent

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