Following the breakdown of last night’s Eurogroup talks, the Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament urged the Eurozone’s finance ministers to agree to revise the current bailout programme for Greece as soon as possible.
The Eurogroup must not try to impose the simple completion of the ‘Troika’ programme as the only option – it should seek compromise on the programme’s content as it contemplates its technical extension.
S&D Group vice-president responsible for economic and social affairs, Maria João Rodrigues, said:
“Europe is facing a serious financial and political crisis if it does not manage to strike a new deal for Greece quickly. This deal should also include meaningful changes to the current bailout conditions, even if it needs to be technically extended due to lack of time.
“Instead of escalating the stand-off, the Eurogroup should come to its senses and consider the largely reasonable proposals of the new Greek government with an open mind.”
“Greece cannot become a highly competitive country if 20% of its population suffers from severe material deprivation and nearly 40% of children are at risk of poverty or exclusion. It needs to reform in a smart and socially sensible way. The Eurogroup should learn from its past mistakes instead of repeating them.
“It is no surprise that the draft statement tabled for the Eurogroup meeting was unacceptable to the Greek side. The Eurogroup needs to show a more constructive approach and substantiate what kind of ‘flexibility’ within the current extended programme could help to improve the economic and social crisis in Greece.
“It is not enough to hint at possible adaptations to the current programme during a press conference; these changes should have actually been discussed in the meeting.
“Greece must be allowed to reduce its primary surplus, so that it can reform, invest and help the poor. The lenders would be wise to stretch the repayment schedule for Greek debt, instead of insisting on austerity for decades to come.
“The S&D Group suggested a compromise deal last week, based on a revision of the Greek adjustment programme and a set of progressive reforms. These reforms should focus on fighting tax avoidance and corruption; modernising public administration; education and job centres; and strengthening key public services like healthcare.
“Investment and job creation also need to be fostered. This could be the basis for Greece’s prosperous future within the Eurozone.”
Preventing a new Eurozone crisis: Towards a New Deal for Greece and the EMU, 09/02/2015