Political statements to support the next referendum from European political parties and leaders

01-07-2015

Call to support the Greek people in its struggle against the Troika and its austerity policy

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Finance, Pearse Doherty TD, has commended the actions of Syriza in upholding the principles of democracy in the face of increasing pressure from European institutions which are ‘holding Greece to ransom’.

Deputy Doherty said: “The ECB, IMF and European Commission are holding Greece to ransom by insisting on this blatant brinkmanship. This anti-democratic behaviour reveals the true nature of the EU, far removed from the ideals touted at its inception.  

“This issue is more than just debt. It is about vested interests in the EU. We are not dealing with democracy here, but the politics of power and punishment. Here is a manufactured crisis. We are being shown who is in control.

“The Greek economy has been crippled by the regime of austerity. Annual output is now three quarters of what it was five years ago. Greece is stuck in a downward spiral of cutting growth and raising debt.

“Syriza have been arguing for growth-led measures that will support the rebuilding of the Greek economy and allow it to meet it credit obligations. However, despite significant fiscal adjustments put forward by Syriza, they have been point blank refused by the European institutions.

“The refusal of the Irish government to support Greek debt relief is galling. Fine Gael and Labour are playing parish pump politics with the lives of Greek people and the structures of the EU. Reckless is too kind a word.

“Simply put, the Fine Gael/Labour government does not want Syriza to succeed as it will lead to a lot of red faces at the Cabinet. Syriza are standing up for the people of Greece, not the developers, bankers and investors who are Fine Gael and Labour’s primary concern.

“I welcome the referendum on Sunday as it will give Greek people a mandate to accept or reject an EU deal. It is democracy in action, the practice of which is becoming increasingly rare in Europe.”

 

German Left party: Chancellor Merkel should take action

27/6/2015

Following the announcement of Jeroen Dijsselbloem, according to which the Eurozone Finance Ministers reject an extension of the so-called bailout programme for Greece, the leaders of the German Left Party (die Linke), Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger, and the leader of the Left Party in the Bundestag, Gregor Gysi, stated:

“Chancellor Merkel must intervene now. The fate of Europe lies in her hands. An extension of the so-called bailout programme by one week has to be eligible. Greek people have the right to vote on their destiny - the Chancellor has enough influence to put a stop to the technocratic madness. If she does not, that would be her biggest mistake and also the beginning of a permanent crisis for the people in Germany and throughout Europe”.  

 

German Green Party calls for an intervention by the European Heads of State and Government.

"In this crucial moment for Europe, it is irresponsible to leave such a decision solely in the hands of the Eurogroup", German Green party leader, Simone Peter, said yesterday. The European leaders, "foremost" German Chancellor Angela Merkel, would have to "break a lance for Greece’s stay in the euro and thus for Europe". If the European leaders remain indifferent, it would be as if admitting that politics has failed to provide solutions, Simone Peter concluded.

 

Statement by Gabi Zimmer, President of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament, 27/6/2015

"The Eurogroup´s cold-hearted ideologues have once again trampled on European democracy. First they blackmailed the democratically-elected Greek government for months; now they have denied the Greek people the possibility to decide about the Eurogroup´s proposal.

 "It would have been no problem for the finance ministers to extend the programme for a few days to make this possible. But they did not want to give the Greek people this freedom. They prefer to see the only left government in the EU failing and, because of this, they are putting European integration at risk. Now, EU leaders must find a last-minute solution. The EU's future lies in their hands."  

 

Socialists and Democrats’ Group in the European Parliament 27/6/2015

S&D Euro MPs urge EU heads of state and government to convene an extraordinary meeting after the negotiations on Greece broke off today at the Eurogroup.

S&D Group leader Gianni Pittella stated: “The Eurozone is now entering troubled waters following the rejection of the Greek bailout extension. All efforts must be done to prevent a Grexit. 

The elements for a decent compromise remain on the table. The differences between the creditors’ proposals and the Greek government can be bridged if everyone is ready to make an effort. 

The heads of state and government should now take the lead and find a solution before the end of the week. The European Commission also has now a crucial role to play as a facilitator.

It is not the time to further punish the Greek people. Everything must be done to keep the financial flows inside the country.  Confronted with an unprecedented situation, Greek people must be offered the chance to choose their future. We are not afraid of any referendum.”

 

S&D Group vice president Maria João Rodrigues added:

”We need to come up urgently with a credible and socially sensible solution to resolve this crisis and prevent the unthinkable. European citizens cannot understand European leaders' inability to find a compromise deal after five months of negotiations.

A massive financial, economic, social and political disaster is looming if Greece is cut off from financial flows and pushed out of the Eurozone. The knock-on effects may also get out of control. It is incredible that at this late stage, national leaders would take ever-greater risks and only refer the matter back to the Eurogroup.

The Greek crisis is also a top geopolitical issue for Europe: Greece is a vulnerable border country, highly exposed to acute pressures from Russia, the war in Syria and Iraq and the refugee crisis. Those who treat the current standoff purely as a financial crisis are playing with fire next to a barrel of gunpowder. 

For all these reasons, responsibility for finding the solution to the Greek case must be taken at the European institutions' highest level, i.e. by the Heads of State and Government.”

 

DUTCH SOCIALIST PARTY

Emile Roemer: The Greeks must decide it 28 June 2015

In the last few months the question has often been posed: should Greece quit the euro? My answer is always the same: the Greeks will decide that for themselves.

After this weekend, that moment seems to have moved closer. Next week the Greeks will give their opinion, via a referendum, as to whether they are for or against the austerity agreement.

Since the beginning of the crisis the Greek economy has collapsed. 25% of the wealth has evaporated. One in four Greeks is unemployed and amongst young people the figure is as high as six out of ten. Extremely harsh austerity – many times greater even than in the Netherlands – has dismantled health care. Figures for poverty are rocketing, as is the number of suicides.

Billions in loans in recent years have not helped Greece. That’s not so hard to believe. Europe has primarily, with the money for Greece, rescued its own banks. These have, as a result, withdrawn from the country and governments have taken over their debts. Meanwhile the problems have not been solved, as Greece can only emerge from this catastrophe if some prospects of improvement arrive. A real solution: fewer right-wing reforms, less tax avoidance and more hope, optimism and revenue, so that the economy returns to the discussion.

That hope is not on offer from Dijsselbloem & Co. Worse still, instead of such hope, the Greeks have been handed a new austerity agreement which would drive the society, the public sector and the economy still further down.

This weekend’s crisis lays bare the fundamental problem of the euro. It is a struggle between European institutions which are allowing themselves to be led by the financial markets and a population which is demanding democracy and human dignity. The struggle for market and currency is colliding with the Greek struggle for humanity and democracy. The Greek people have opted for a social course, but Brussels cares nothing for election results. First the currency, then the people. That’s how things go in this Europe.

I can well imagine Tsipras’s choice. He has not, against the will of his constituents, agreed to impose an austerity agreement. Quite correctly, he has not left his voters in the lurch but instead has given them a voice. So a referendum is a logical decision. You might well wish that there were more such democrats in Brussels, and a great deal fewer technocrats sitting around the table.

 

Statement by Gabi Zimmer, President of GUE/NGL, Brussels 29/06/2015  

EU leaders must assume political responsibility now!    

"We call on EU leaders to assume political responsibility for the future of the EU and to convene an extraordinary summit within the next few hours.  

"If EU leaders are serious about democracy and solidarity, they must extend the deadline ending tomorrow so that the Greek people can vote freely and autonomously on the last official proposal by the creditors dated 25 June 2015.  

"On the one hand, the creditors have been trying for months to impose unacceptable conditions on the Greek government. On the other hand, now that the talks have stopped, they say they were willing to make further concessions. That is hypocritical and will further damage public confidence in the EU and its institutions."

The experience of Greece demonstrates the importance of building a pan European movement based on values of solidarity and deep democracy. Thank you for doing so much to organise this .
Hilary Wainwright| Red Pepper magazine |

"This is sheer unbridled sadism. The Greek people are being punished for the failure of the neo-liberal consensus to avert the hideous and increasing forms of inequality which were always inscribed within its mandate. Nothing can explain why the most powerful countries of Europe should want to continue to impose on Greece policies which have brought it to the brink of collapse, other than the desire to precipitate a true collapse which they will then take as the proof that only their vicious system could have saved it - a self-defeating argument and a blatant lie. We can only speculate what unconscious links there must be between the forgiving of Germany's post-war debt, of which it remains the beneficiary to this day and without which it would not be in a position to dictate its terms, and its refusal to countenance any such forgiveness, let alone the paying of war reparations, to Greece. No logic can explain it. We have entered the realm of the cruellest social fantasy. The irony is that the whole of Europe will now suffer. But our hearts go out to the Greek people who will suffer - who are already suffering - most."

Jacqueline Rose, Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities.

Étienne Balibar :"The struggle of the Greek people is the struggle of all European democrats, of all those who believe in human progress . In the case of a potential defeat all European peoples would pay the price. In the case of a potential victory, as limited as it may be, all European peoples would benefit. That's why it is necessary for those French and European forces who have hope in the renewal of democracy to positively answer the calls of Syriza to build European solidarity around Greece and the Greek people. The perspective of a referendum urgently requires the reinforcement of this solidarity"

Slavoj Zizek: "The struggle that goes on is the struggle for theEuropean economic and political Leitkultur.The EU powers stand for the technocratic status quo which is keeping Europe ininertia for decades. In his NotesTowards a Definition of Culture, the great conservative T.S.Eliot remarkedthat there are moments when the only choice is the one between heresy andnon-belief, i.e., when the only way to keep a religion alive is to perform asectarian split from its main corpse. This is our position today with regard toEurope: only a new "heresy" (represented at this moment by Syriza) can savewhat is worth saving in European legacy: democracy, trust in people,egalitarian solidarity. The Europe that will win if Syriza is outmaneuvered isa "Europe with Asian values" (which, of course, has nothing to do with Asia,but all with the clear and present tendency of contemporary capitalism to suspenddemocracy). We from Western Europe like to look upon Greece as if we aredetached observers who follow with compassion and sympathy the plight of theimpoverished nation. Such a comfortable standpoint relies on a fateful illusion- what goes on in Greece these last weeks concerns all of us, it is the futureof Europe which is at stake. So when we read about Greece these days, we shouldalways bear in mind that, as the old saying goes, de te fabula narrator."

 "The behavior of the Troika today is a disgrace. One can scarcely doubt that their goal is to make it clear that defiance to the northern banks and the Brussels bureaucracy will not be tolerated, and that thoughts of democracy and popular will must be abandoned. Other than power, there is no reason to continue with the shameful farce in which French and German banks profit from the suffering of the people of Greece."The debt should have been radically restructured long ago, or simply declared “odious” and cancelled. Today, Greeks are offered a miserable choice between two painful alternatives. One can only hope that their brave resistance to the brutal assault will encourage global solidarity that will save them and others from the harsh fate dictated by the masters."

Noam CHOMSKY | United States | MIT


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