Correspondent's Choice

This interview with Dalia Grybauskaite was published by EurActiv on 25th May 2010.

To be able to properly manage the current eurozone crisis and tackle more global challenges, the EU needs to be united and more deeply integrated, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskait? told EurActiv in the presidential palace in Vilnius.

“Having a common currency and no mechanism strict enough to control and push member states to behave responsibly is a mistake,” the Lithuanian president said, referring to EU member states’ persistent failure to respect the Stability and Growth Pact.

“In 2005, member states themselves laundered this pact. It became a rubber pact where you can inflow as much as possible flexibility without responsibility,” she added.

Grybauskait?, who has also served as her country’s finance minister and vice-minister of foreign affairs, became president of Lithuania in July 2009, after having held the position of European commissioner for financial programming and budget in the first Barroso Commission.

“If one country is allowed to misbehave, to bluff with information, to avoid paying its full share to the European budget, to make uncoordinated moves in economic policy, the system collapses,” she said, claiming that the euro debacle was an accident waiting to happen and was accelerated by the global crisis, which exposed the weaknesses and bottlenecks of the European fiscal and monetary situation.

The president explained that the rescue package adopted by EU leaders earlier this month to prevent the euro from collapsing under the weight of debt accumulated in countries such as Greece, Spain or Portugal is just a means of buying time.

According to Grybauskait?, if Europe fails to act, “the investment of the rescue package will be lost and misused” as the crisis is not just a Greek problem, but a problem for the entire euro zone and the EU as a whole, because ultimately its resolution lies in fiscal policies and how they are controlled and harmonised.

“A currency without a common monetary and fiscal policy is an artificial design,” she said. “And if you don’t coordinate, you cannot speak with one voice, and cannot decide in one shot.”

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