Left must show 'credibility' - Gilmore

Fri, Oct 12, 2012, 01:00

Parties of the centre left in Europe had to prove to voters that they had “credible answers” for dealing with the economic crisis, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said today.

In an address to a conference of leading European social democrat politicians on the issue of "Progressive Governance", the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade said the mood in Europe was shifting towards the centre left: “But we have to build now, on that success.”

Chairing a session entitled "Steering Europe out of the Crisis", former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Mandelson asked the participants to state whether they felt there was “something inherently flawed” about the euro zone’s original design.

British shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the best analogy was with a group of people who decided to engage in the “really dangerous” practice of off-piste skiing.

“You’ve never done it before and you’re going down the mountain tied together. One of your members falls: what do you do?

“You can’t stop halfway down the mountain and start having a discussion about why this person hadn’t been doing more fitness training for the last five years.”

Seventeen member states were involved: “I wouldn’t say it was inherently flawed, but the scale of the political task was monumental and hugely underestimated.”

He added: “I don’t think the scale of the challenge was ever properly taken on board by the political process.”

Swedish shadow finance minister Magdalena Andersson said that although there “faults in the construction of the euro and the euro zone”, she initially thought Sweden should join but she was not sure now.

Austrian Hannes Swoboda, leader of the Socialists and Social Democrats in the European Parliament, said there were “many flaws and mistakes” but it would be “a disaster” to withdraw from the euro zone.

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