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EU urges to avoid protectionism
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08:16, February 17, 2009

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The European Union (EU) came under a call on Monday to stick to its principle of open economy and to resist temptation of protectionism in the economic downturn.

"We should not panic and imagine that new social engineering, Napoleonic visions or national selfishness and a twin speed Europe will solve out problems," Premysl Sobotka, president of the Czech Senate, said when opening a joint session on the economic crisis among lawmakers from the European Parliament and national legislative bodies.

Sobotka, whose country holds the EU rotating presidency, said while populists or bureaucrats might try to use the crisis for their own ends, "Europe through its entrepreneurial effort will strengthen its place in the world."

Miloslav Vlcek, speaker of the Czech Parliament's Chamber of Deputies, called for action to improve confidence in financial institutions.

"Self regulation has been shown not to work. The EU must monitor regulation in the member states, and we should clearly delimit responsibilities: fragmented regulation in the United States was one of the problems that led to the crisis," he said, adding that better rather than more regulation was what was needed.

Addressing EU lawmakers, Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek also warned politicians against lending an ear to those calling for protectionist measures, describing it as a "road to hell."

The EU has been put on guard against protectionism as its member states are in haste to work their individual economies out of the current crisis with protectionist measures.

Recent protectionist comments by French President Nicolas Sarkozy have in particular irritated Prague.

Sarkozy said in a TV interview earlier this month that French car markers receiving state aid should keep production in France and consider relocating their plants in the Czech Republic back to France.

Source: Xinhua

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