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European Socialist Parties Meet in Athens

Europe’s socialists on Saturday proposed a counter plan to a Franco-German competitiveness pact, that aims to strengthen the eurozone while ensuring economic recovery.
“We have developed an alternative plan to the Sarkozy-Merkel plan, for creating eight million jobs in Europe while maintaining roughly the same fiscal consolidation as the competitiveness pact,” Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, head of the Party of European Socialists (PES), told a news conference in Athens.
Speaking to a meeting of fellow socialists, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou lashed out at Europe’s conservative parties Saturday for dragging their feet in global efforts to overhaul the world’s financial rules.
In an impassioned address, Papandreou blamed the conservatives for failing to draw “the self-evident conclusions” about the causes of the world finanicial crisis and the need for better regulation.
“Although we have heard a lot, a lot has been said and promises made, we do not see a new architecture for the international financial system,” Papandreou said.
There was no sign of better regulation or transparency in sight, Papandreou said, nor were there serious efforts to crack down on speculation in international markets.
He particularly criticized the lack of reform in regulating the world’s three big ratings agencies, whom many see as complicit in worsening Greece’s financial crisis last year.

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