Putin: EU can resolve debt crisis

Updated: 2011-10-13 08:07

By Li Xiaokun and Zheng Yangpeng (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday urged major European nations to help countries severely hit by the continent's debt crisis, saying it is primarily a political problem which the EU is capable of handling if it shows enough commitment.

"So far the European debt problem is still a political problem, not purely an economic one," Putin told Chinese media on Tuesday evening at the Diaoyutai Guest House after talks with Premier Wen Jiabao, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The Russian leader ended his two-day China visit on Wednesday after meeting President Hu Jintao. It was his first trip abroad since he announced plans to return to the Russian presidency.

Putin said Greece is the nation in the worst situation in the eurozone, but its economic volume only accounts for 2 percent of Europe's GDP.

"Some experts believe the scale of (financial) assistance in the European debt crisis is likely to reach 1 to 1.5 trillion euros ($1.38 to $2.06 trillion). It's not a small figure, but I believe the EU can afford it," Putin said.

The crisis is a political problem because it needs major European nations to make a political decision to offer assistance which "demands political encouragement", he added.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Oct 5 urged the EU to swiftly recapitalize its banks to stabilize markets. IMF Europe Director Antonio Borges estimated that the cost of recapitalizing European banks ranges from 100 billion to 200 billion euros.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a recent visit to Brussels that Germany is prepared to recapitalize banks, adding that EU leaders may discuss a Europe-wide plan at their summit meeting in mid-October.

In the interview, Putin also hailed cooperation with China and criticized the dominance of the US dollar in the global economy.

"The US is not a parasite for the world economy, but the US dollar's monopoly is a parasite," Putin said.

The Russian prime minister also talked about his plans to return to the nation's presidency, saying it was a decision he had made together with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and that it will help consolidate the country's political system.

"We're eager for support from the voters," he said, promising that he and Medvedev would talk candidly about both the achievements and problems in the country.

Yang Cheng, deputy director of the Center for Russian Studies at East China Normal University, said Putin's remarks reflected his expectation that the debt issue won't lead to a major crisis within the EU, from which Russia would directly suffer.

"The EU remains Russia's most important partner, though Asia has become increasingly important in the recent decade," said Yang.

As for his criticism of Washington, Yang said it is not the first time that Putin had lashed out at US monetary policy.

China Daily

(China Daily 10/13/2011 page11)