Greek adjustment programme review: Austerity has failed, sustainable growth policies needed
The event, titled 'Critical evaluation of the austerity programmes & the scrutiny role of the European Parliament in the case of Greece and beyond', brought together MEPs from multiple political groups who have been involved in the review and some who had participated in the recent fact-finding mission to Greece to discuss the situation of Greece and other EU countries affected by austerity measures.
GUE/NGL MEPs welcomed the scrutineering role of the European Parliament's new Financial Assistance Working Group in the review of the Greek economic adjustment programme, and added pressure for the completion of the review by the end of April.
Vice President of the European Parliament and member of the EP Financial Assistance Working Group, Dimitris Papadimoulis, expressed: “The involvement of the European Parliament is vital for transparency and democratic control of fiscal consolidation programmes in Greece and beyond. This is a step in the right direction.”
The speakers gave their own evaluations of the austerity measures, highlighting the fact that they are not working and a change of policy direction is urgently required.
GUE/NGL President, Gabriele Zimmer, stated: “We see how people are living in Greece, Portugal and Ireland. There is no improvement in their lives and the poorest people are living in the worst conditions. Massively cutting public spending in times of economic downturn has sped up the vicious downward spiral towards unemployment and poverty. If we continue like this, austerity policies could destroy the European Union. We cannot allow the institutions that enforce these austerity policies to continue to violate European law such as workers´ rights and fundamental rights to social security and education.”
Papadimoulis explained: “Between 2010 and 2014, measures costing over 60 billion euros were adopted to lower the public deficit in Greece. But in reality, these only increased public debt, unemployment and poverty.”
“In Greece, we want to see a return to growth and development. We need a sound public investment framework with the aim to enhance economic growth, employment and social cohesion. We need a renegotiation of debts and a concrete emergency plan to support the economies of both Greece and other countries affected by austerity policies.”
GUE/NGL MEPs also raised concerns about the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) approach to the review following the recent wikileaks that revealed conversations between senior IMF officials who appeared to be trying to manipulate and blackmail Greece through the review process.
Papadimoulis added: “The IMF came to Greece as a 'technical advisor'. These wikileaks show that the IMF wants to play political games and blackmail through this process”.
The event included special interventions from:
- Roberto Gualtieri, Chair of the ECON Committee and EP Financial Assistance Working Group (S&D);
- Baudillo Tomé Muguruza, The European Court of Auditors, leader of the special reports on financial assistance provided to countries in difficulties and on the technical assistance to Greece;
Speakers and participants at the event also included:
- Fabio De Masi, ECON member and member of the EP Financial Assistance Working Group (GUE/NGL);
- Matt Carthy, ECON member (GUE/NGL);
- Ernest Urtasun, ECON member and member of the EP Financial Assistance Working Group (The Greens/EFA);
- Elisa Ferreira, ECON member and member of the EP Financial Assistance Working Group (S&D);
- Additional MEPs from GUE/NGL and the EPP.
Further information & View recording of event (translation available in EN, DE, FR, IT, EL, ES, PT).
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20