EU Ambassador Says No Country Immune to Economic Crisis
October 26, 2011 – European Union Ambassador João Vale de Almeida said in a speech at Georgetown yesterday that the economic woes of the United States are “deeply interconnected” with that of EU countries.
“The U.S. is our main partner, [and] we are the main partner of the U.S.,” said Almeida, head of the EU delegation to America. “One thing we did learn from the financial crisis of 2008 is that we are in this together.”
The EU, which has been working to help Greece with its debt crisis since 2010, is now trying to avoid having Italy and Spain meet the same fate as the Mediterranean country.
“We cannot claim to be immune to the [economic] problem,” the ambassador said. “When you have a subprime mortgage problem in California … this affects the whole world.”
Almeida said the global financial crisis is to blame for the present economic status of many EU countries.
“What we’re seeing in Europe are the aftershocks [from 2008] … as we see in the U.S.,” he said.
He said the aftershocks are felt more acutely in Europe, mostly because some of its countries were already in bad economic shape before the crisis hit.
“It came as a surprise to many that the financial crisis had this kind of impact,” Almeida explained. “Even some emerging countries are feeling difficulties.”
Klub Polski, a student group established to promote Polish culture, history and language, sponsored the ambassador’s Tuesday evening talk, which took place at Georgetown’s Mortara Center for International Studies.
Poland, the largest EU country, has managed to avoid a recession. That country took the reins of the EU presidency for the first time earlier this year.
“I’m very much happy to see Poland take the helm of the European Union,” Almeida said.
He reminded students of European accomplishments.
“…Your generation, your memory of the past is different from mine,” the ambassador said. “I was not born when the first and second world wars took place, but I remember my father telling me about that. What we have achieved [in Europe] is the longest period of peace…”