Ken Clarke: World leaders 'paralysed' over financial crisis

Friday, 16 September 2011 10:23

Former chancellor Ken Clarke has accused European and US leaders of "paralysis" over the financial crisis, adding that they seem "incapable" of dealing with the scale of the issues.

The Justice Secretary went on to point the finger at senior figures in the negotiations, suggesting they are playing "short-term politics".

His comments come as finance ministers, including chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne, meet in Poland in an effort to quell speculation that debt problems will force Greece to quit the eurozone.

"The main thing I take from this crisis is unfortunately the political leadership in the USA and large parts of western Europe have been totally overwhelmed by the dimensions of the crisis, not able to cope," he told BBC's Newsnight programme.

"You have paralysis in Washington and paralysis in large parts of Europe because they are incapable of agreeing and everybody is fighting short-term politics.

Mr Clarke went on to predict that the euro would survive the current crisis but added that the eurozone required more fiscal discipline.

"It doesn't need the same level of tax, it doesn't need the same level of spending. Governments can decide that for themselves whether they are high tax, high spend, or low tax, low spend," he said.

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