Chapter 16: European Groupthink: denial on a grand scale
Before the crisis really hit Europe, the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, was more concerned about calls for protection from China by the Member States than the growing financial turmoil in world markets. He told the Financial Times in March 2008 that: We certainly have no intention at all of having some kind of European super-regulator . . . We think innovation in financial markets is good. It’s been good for financial institutions, business and consumers . . . Of course, we cannot be completely immune to the situation in America, but we think there is no rational reason to fear a recession in Europe. (Barber and Barber, 2008) It was early into his second five-year term as President and he was as wrong as he would ever be. The ‘sickly premature baby’, an epithet for the euro coined by Gerhard Schröder during the 1998 German Federal election campaign, had already experienced a difficult childhood. But at the time Barroso was exuding his normal political confidence, its very existence was at stake.
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