Bloomberg News

Van Rompuy Calls Mexico Preachy as EU Seeks Former Luster

September 07, 2012

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy said he has had enough of “countries like Mexico” telling him how to resolve the euro area’s sovereign-debt crisis.

“I’m fed up with being in the dock,” Van Rompuy said today at a European political party meeting in Florence, Italy. “Countries like Mexico -- I don’t want to be unpleasant and mention other countries -- but other countries like Mexico are preaching to us and telling us what we should do in Europe. And these countries have got civil war at home.”

European leaders are renewing efforts to present a unified front after more than two years of crisis talks and failed remedies for the region’s debt turmoil. They are rallying behind European Central Bank PresidentMario Draghi and his plan, announced yesterday, to buy sovereign bonds issued by distressed governments in the 17-nation euro area.

At a June Group of 20 summit in Mexico, Europe received an ultimatum to step up its fight against the financial crisis, with Mexican President Felipe Calderon saying his nation was ready to help “Europe overcome the problems currently being faced and to prevent similar events from recurring.” Calderon made the comments after meeting with Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Barroso at the summit.

Barroso countered at the time that Europe’s leaders had “not come here to receive lessons” on democracy or the economy.

‘Existential Threat’

While Van Rompuy today singled out Mexico, which has suffered more than 47,000 deaths in a five-year war against drug cartels, he said crisis-fighting suggestions have come in from around the world.

“They all know what we should be doing in the euro zone,” Van Rompuy said. Acknowledging that the protracted battle to safeguard the euro “damages our world position,” he said: “We need to get away as quickly as possible from this existential threat.”

Mexico is the EU’s 20th-biggest trading partner, according to EU data, while the EU is Mexico’s third-largest, behind the U.S. and China. Shipments to Europe from Mexico totalled 16.3 billion euros ($20.8 billion) last year and accounted for 1 percent of the EU’s total 2011 imports. EU exports to Mexico accounted for 1.6 percent of the 27-nation bloc’s shipments abroad.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in Rome at afrye@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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