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Poland asks Germany to save Europe

29th November 2011
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Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski: "I demand of Germany that it help the euro zone survive and prosper. Nobody else can do it."

Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski has made a bold appeal to Germany to act to save the euro zone.

“I demand of Germany that, for its own sake and for ours, it help the euro zone survive and prosper. Nobody else can do it. I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say this, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear its inactivity,” said Mr Sikorski in a speech he gave in Berlin on Monday, and repeated in an opinion published in the Financial Times on Tuesday.

Also on Monday, the OECD warned that the euro-area crisis was the biggest threat to the world economy, and urged for decisive policies action from politicians including a greater ability to call on the European Central Bank. Germany has so far refused to allow the ECB to act as a “lender of last resort.”

“We are concerned that policy-makers fail to see the urgency of taking decisive action to tackle the real and growing risks to the global economy,” OECD Chief Economist Pier Carlo Padoan said in a statement.

The Polish FM, who said he was living the “scariest moment of his ministerial life,” warned that the break-up of the euro zone would be a crisis “of apocalyptic proportion.” To prevent this, more fiscal discipline from member states and a greater role for the ECB are necessary, but it is not enough, said the FM.

“We ask Berlin to admit that it is the biggest beneficiary of current arrangements and that it therefore has the biggest obligation to make them sustainable. As Germany knows best, she is not an innocent victim of others’ profligacy,” said Mr Sikorski.

“What, as Poland’s foreign minister, do I regard as the biggest threat to the security and prosperity of Poland in the last week of November 2011? It is not terrorism, and it is certainly not German tanks. It is not even Russian missiles, which President Dmitry Medvedev has just threatened to deploy on the EU’s border. The biggest threat to the security of Poland would be the collapse of the euro zone.”

Mr Sikorski is on a working visit to Berlin on November 28 and 29, where he is to hold political consultations with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on topics including measures to counter the euro zone crisis and the state of bilateral relations.

From Warsaw Business Journal by Alice Trudelle

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