KOTA KINABALU: Europe should have learnt from the financial crisis faced by Asia in 1997, said Hungary’s Foreign Minister Dr Janos Martonyi yesterday.
He said among the crucial mistakes that Asia tried to avoid during the crisis was going into debt.
“Even though there were countries in Asia that had to sit down and negotiate with international financial organisations (on borrowing money), what happened was that Asia started to save and put their house in order.
“That was what we (Europe) should have done, but did not.
“Instead, we began relying heavily on debt,” he said when presenting a lecture titled ‘Asia-Europe Relations in light of Strategic Ties Between the Two Continents’ at University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here.
According to Dr Martonyi, the current financial crisis that the world was facing and not just in Europe was that in addition to several countries going into debt, there was a lack of governance on a global level and serious imperfections of global rule-making.
But now the European Union (EU) has been working hard to strengthen its fiscal discipline and governance since over two years ago, he said.
Earlier, UMS vice chancellor Datuk Dr Kamaruzzaman Ampon said relations between Asia and Europe over the past five years saw tremendous cooperation in various spheres, particularly in terms of trade and education.
“In the sphere of education, the EU has been generous in terms of the transfer and exchange of knowledge as well as expertise.
“UMS, through the School of Social Sciences, for example, is one of six partners involved in increasing awareness and understanding of the EU and its policies as well as to share experiences and resources which will thereafter solidify global
engagements,” he added. — Bernama