Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

EU Ambassador Talks Monetary Crisis

European Union Ambassador to the United States Joao Vale de Almeida addressed the future of Europe and its currency as well as Poland’s future role in the European Union in an event Tuesday at the Mortara Center.

In his speech, held by Klub Polski, Vale de Almeida emphasized how Poland, whose president is the current chair of the Council of the E.U., exemplifies European integration and democracy in light of the region’s complicated past as a dictatorship.

“If there is one reason that justifies everything that we have been doing in Europe in the last 50 to 60 years, it is modern day Poland,” he said.

Vale de Almeida went on to discuss the euro crisis and its implications for the European continent. He expressed belief that both the E.U. and the monetary system will recover from their current state of crisis. The euro is both a political and an economic project, he said, while he blamed the global financial crisis in 2008 for the current European monetary instability.

“We are now suffering from what I would call the aftershocks of [the] crisis,” he said in an interview with The Hoya. “The international context, instead of helping us solve the problem, aggravates the problem.”

Vale de Almeida noted the interconnected nature of world economies’ effect on the currency, adding that the E.U. is faring better than the United States in the magnitude of its budget deficit and public debt on average.

“We cannot throw the first stone, because we are all vulnerable,” he said in response to U.S. worries about the European economy.

Vale de Almeida further stated that economies around the world ultimately share the same problems.

“It’s very difficult in today’s globalized world to make a distinction … where my problems start and where other people’s problems start,” he said to The Hoya.

Vale de Almeida hoped that the European Union and the United States would be able to repair Europe’s monetary system by working through the International Monetary Fund and through negotiations with the G-20 Financial Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

“We either swim together or we go down together. There is no real alternative to this,” he said to The Hoya.

Vale de Almeida noted that the E.U. has already given unprecedented levels of aid to failing economies, like Greece and Portugal.

“We went to the limits of what the treaties, that is our constitution, allows us to do,” he said. “But it is clear today that we have to do more.”

Vale de Almeida also argued that the E.U. needs a comprehensive plan to address the mechanisms used to handle economic crises. This week marks a series of talks among the financial ministers in Brussels about how to recapitalize European banks and efficiently respond to issues.

For students in attendance, Vale De Almeida’s speech allowed for an enhanced understanding of the debt crises.

“The man was representing not just one, but 27 nations in the E.U. It was cool to see, in his words, ‘the direct product of the Lisbon treaty’ speak and hear him energetically defend the euro,” Elaine Colligan(SFS ’15) said.

For the ambassador, a unified currency is the best way to utilize the integrated free markets and unified economic policies in Europe.

“I have no doubt that the euro will survive,” Vale de Almeida said. “Europe will come out of this crisis fitter and stronger.”


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