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President criticises lack of supervision

Portugal President Cavaco Silva has blamed European supervision for allowing the sovereign debt crisis to get out of control.

Speaking at Stanford University last week, during his official visit to the United States, the president, speaking in fluent English, dismissed criticisms that it was the neo-liberal policies his government had adopted when he was prime minister that had caused Portugal’s current mess.

“The root of the crisis lies not only in wrong policies followed by the countries at stake, but also the European institutions that failed in their supervisory role,” he told students.

Cavaco Silva, who in 1992 presided over the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, said that the current situation should have been foreseen and avoided through the active intervention of the European Commission and European Council.

“The situation in which Greece now found itself should never have been allowed to happen,” he said, adding that what was happening “in some countries now is the responsibility of those countries but also the European institutions and other member states”.

When asked if he thought that Europe should be divided into two blocks, with good economies on the one hand (Germany, Holland, Finland and Sweden) and bad economies lacking discipline, on the other, (Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland and Italy), he joked that it would be hard to know where to place France in such a case.

In the final day of his visit in which he met President Barrack Obama, Cavaco Silva toured several companies in Silicon Valley including the multinational company Cisco, Lockheed Martin, and the lug and Play Tech Centre.