On the economic crisis, Mr. Papandreou delivered a strong rebuke to the neo-liberal policies that have placed Europe in crisis. He commented that; “all the Conservatives offer is austerity, but they have never really addressed the underlying causes of the crisis – the lack of financial regulation, the ‘clientilist capitalists’ who look after their friends’ business interests and the massive tax evasion across the EU”.
Proposing a progressive alternative, the Greek Prime Minister called for; “responsibility instead of austerity, sincerity instead of scepticism, and hope instead of the politics of fear”.
He reserved special praise for PES President, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, stating that; “thanks to Poul, the issue of a European Financial Transaction Tax is on the political agenda”.
Mr. Papandreou underlined his strong European credentials by making a clear reference to the so called ‘PIIGS’ countries of Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain. “I am proud to be Greek, but I am also proud to be Portuguese, Irish, Spanish and above all European”.
Commenting on the speculative attacks against Spain and Portugal he stated that the Socialist Governments had been economically responsible and that it was only Conservative bias that was trying to characterise them otherwise.