Judging by Nicolas Sarkozy’s tone, the dynamism and irony of the come-backs from the political party leaders and the ideological friction between the socialists, liberals and conservatives intensified by the financial crisis, Tuesday’s europarliamentary debate looked in this instance very much like a 'Debate on the Union State', an event never before seen in the history of the EU. Some of the important opinions voiced are listed below.
'The systematic financial crisis began on September 15 2008, not in August 2007'
'I don’t believe it! The crises – the ecological crisis, the financial and poverty crisis in the world – are all interdependent. It is therefore incorrect to say that the crisis began in August. The signs have been there for years, it’s not like a tsunami which is impossible to predict'
'World capitalism is not being questioned but that doesn’t mean that the market economy isn’t rewarding speculators to the detriment of businessmen'
In a slight on America he said, 'It is not possible to continue carrying the weight of the deficits of the most powerful nation of the world'
And:'European businesses do not need to be bought out by non-European capital when their stocks and shares are weak. One solution may be to create sovereign funds in each country in the EU'
'The free market needs to be accompanied by firmly implemented rules'
'Looking forward to seeing the conservative wing, to which Sarkozy, Daul and Durão Barroso belong, recognise the error of their ways – even if it is a little late – in having supported deregulation over the last few years'
'My party will support all measures looking to guarantee the European model of solidarity and social market economy'
'I’m impressed by the resolutions proposed by Sarkozy and Barroso and by the language of European social-democracy that they are using now'
'Have I become a socialist? Maybe I have, but at least you don’t talk to yourself like a French socialist'