It took Greg Jericho over at Grogs Gamut on 19th June 2012 (and Annabel Crabb on The Drum that night) to politely point out that the Oz mainstream media had been lying to us again by saying that Prime Minister Gillard had been given a very public and personal knockdown by European Commission President Barrosso.
I dips me lid to both Greg and Annabel because it took all day before some of the journos over at Fairfax and News Ltd began to dog whistle another tune.
This is Greg's take on the reporting....
This is Greg's take on the reporting....
The relevant bit start at the 36 min mark. It begins with a question from a Canadian journalist, David Akin.
AKIN: As you know President Barrosso, Prime Minister Stephen Harper [ie the Canadian PM] has indicated that Europe should not seek money outside of Europe. He believes that Europe has enough financial fire power, the Euro area is a tremendously wealthy area, that funds with the IMF are better used in developing countries that do not have the resources that Europe has. You’re in North America right now – and I think President Obama feels the same way – you’re in North America right now, please make the pitch why North Americans should risk their assets for Europe that many North Americans believe is wealthy enough to sort out its own problems?
Did you notice any mention of Australia or of Julia Gillard’s remarks or letter? No neither did I – but then I am not a journalist, so what the hell do I know. It is clear Akin is asking about North America, and especially Stephen Harper’s comments.
OK here’s the answer, which you can watch above, but I have transcribed in full:
BARROSO: Regarding the IMF, the IMF is an international financial institution and it should work for the common good. And if there is an issue that is recognized as important for the common good like financial stability, including in some European countries I don’t see any reason why that institution should not contribute. Let me tell you by the way that European states are by far the biggest contributors to the IMF. Even Euro member area states alone are the biggest contributor – bigger than the United States, certainly much, much bigger than Canada. [now that is a swipe!]
So the biggest contribution for the IMF all these years has been European Union member states. And it is quite interesting to know that even in times of crisis – now when we have decided to increase the funding for the IMF once again it is the Europe member states that have given the biggest part, the biggest share.
And by the way we are on time to do it. Others unfortunately are not on time.
So let’s put things in the right perspective. The European Union is the biggest economy in the world, yes we know that. Taken together the 27 member states, the biggest economy and the biggest trade partner (By the way we are trying to conclude an important on trade with Canada – why? Because all parts of the world look at Europe as a source of possible growth for them.) [another mention of Canada]
And in fact they also have an interest. The sooner the situation is stabilized in Europe, the better for them.
So that’s why my position and the position of the European Union has been to say , “Let’s work cooperatively for this. Let’s work together”.
By the way this crisis was not originated in Europe – since you mention North America – this crisis was originated in North America! And many of our financial sector were contaminated by… how can I put is… ‘unorthodoxed’ practice from some sections of the financial market. But we are not putting the blame on our partners. What we are saying is “Let’s work together, when we have a proble… little problem like the one we have today”.
And so that’s why I am expecting today the G20 leaders today and tomorrow to speak very clearly in favour of the approach that the European Union is following – understanding one thing that is very important is that in Europe we are open democracies. Not all the members of the G20 are democracies.[China of course is the biggest non-democracy in the G20] But we are democracies and we take decisions democratically, sometimes this means taking more time. Yes because we are a union of 27 democracies and we have to find necessary consensus. But frankly we are not coming here to receive lessons in terms of democracy or in terms of how to handle the economy. Because European Union is a model that we may be very proud of. We are not complacent about the difficulties. We are extremely open. I wish that all our partners we so open about their own difficulties. We are extremely open and we are engaging with our partners, but we certainly are not coming here to receive lessons from nobody.
Barroso’s answer is mostly about IMF payments with a slap at the non-democratic members of the G20 (and last time I checked, Australia remains a democracy, despite all protestations to the contrary). And then he ends with a sentence that is directed at no one in particular, but given it comes off the back of statements about non-democratic states, could be more linked to them than any other country – although Barroso is looking at the journalist the whole time, so the Canadian/ North Americans aspect is also close to his mind.