Populism not the answer to European debt crisis Slovakia tells Assembly

24 September 2011Nationalist or populist policies are not the answer to the debt crisis engulfing many European countries, Slovakia’s Prime Minister told the United Nations today, urging governments on the continent to ensure their actions do not jeopardize the cause of greater European integration. Iveta Radicová told the General Assembly’s annual general debate that the recent financial crisis and the problems of the banking sector in particular demonstrated “that the Eurozone was not prepared for a crisis.”Seventeen countries, including Slovakia, are formal members of the Eurozone. But several of these nations have large external debts and some commentators have suggested they may have to stop using the euro and return to their former currencies.“We need courage in the Eurozone to return back to the old principles which are necessary for successful international cooperation and integration,” Ms. Radicová said. “We need stricter European and national fiscal rules… We need new rules for careful management of the financial sector.”But above all, Ms. Radicová stressed, “we have to be honest to our citizens, because we have to be very careful that the answer for forcing technical solutions of the debt crisis would not be the escalation of nationalism and populism.“There is a chance that we will save the Eurozone economically, but at the same time we must minimize the risk of losing the project of European integration politically and devalue it in the eyes of our voters.”Ms. Radicová and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also held a meeting today on the margins on the General Assembly, with the two officials discussing the global economic situation, sustainable development and the situation in Cyprus.