President Aníbal Cavaco Silva of Portugal stopped outside the White House today to take a few questions from both U.S. and Portuguese reporters following a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with President Obama.
Asked to predict the future of the Euro, President Silva offered a defense of countries that have been hit strongest with “financial difficulties” and said that fault lies with the EU government, not the countries themselves. Although he did not specifically cite Portugal in his answer, Silva’s country is often grouped in with Italy, Greece and Spain as an EU member facing a potential debt crisis.
Here’s what the president said:
European integration has been a great success, and there are many countries which want to be members of the European Union in the future. And the Euro Zone is a crucial compliment of the European integration. This is an important asset of Europe to face the challenges of the future. I am convinced that at the end of the crisis we shall have a stronger European union and the euro will be a strong world currency. ...
Now there is a problem and the problem is related to a failure in the surveyance by European institutions of the budgeting situations of some member states. It's wrong to blame just the countries with financial difficulties because for many years the commission and the consulate ministers have not done their job. They were supposed to accompany the excess deficit situation of member states. But they complied with the situation. It was called peer pressure. So – they were good friends. So they let the situation continue and now we are correcting that situation. So this movement was an economic union implies a strong surveyance forcing countries to comply in full with their obligations, keeping budgetary situations within the margins, which are in the treaty.
Silva ended by proclaiming confidently, "The Euro will survive."