The state of play on the second review of the economic adjustment programme for Greece has been debated by MEPs with the Council and the Commission in Strasbourg this afternoon.

At the debate, Vice-President of the European Parliament Dimitrios Papadimoulis was first up for GUE/NGL, and he said:

“Τhe people of Greece have been through many sacrifices and changes so far, and the Greek economy has demonstrated significant improvement during the past year and a half.”

“Now is the time for the lenders to do their own part. The responsibility for the delay in the conclusion of the second review falls upon Mr Schäuble and the IMF. Their claims should be lifted so that we can have an agreement – not by tomorrow, but yesterday as was supposed to be the case.”

Greek MEP Nikolaos Chountis, meanwhile, focused on the negative effects of the agreement:

“Those who want the completion of the second review of the Greek programme, supposedly for the sake of the Greek people, are essentially calling for the reduction of pensions and incomes, the fire sale of public property and the degradation of labour relations,” argued Chountis.

Greek MEP Sofia Sakorafa also had strong words in addressing Commissioner Moscovici in the plenary:

“What more does the Commissioner want from the Greek people?”

“It's hubris to say that the continuation of this austerity policy that brought the Greek people to their knees would lead to the salvation of the people.”

“It seems that Greece, in this instance, is a useful tool for you in establishing the results of this crisis, and that ultimately, it’s all for the Commissioner’s benefit,” argued Sakorafa.

Portuguese MEP Marisa Matias was in no doubt as to who is to blame for Greece’s current predicament:

“An ultimatum has been issued to the Greek people – one which is probably the most degrading and lowest point in the history of European integration. But as if authoritarianism and ideological obsession weren’t enough already, the European Commission has decided to go even further – in violation of the commitment made to the Greek people in order to restructure the Greek debt.”

“The agreements imposed by the Commission are not just bad politics – they have been issued in bad faith,” surmised Matias.

This debate was supposed to feature Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem who had received repeated invitations from the European Parliament. However, he decided to avoid the plenary in light of recent remarks he made which appeared to compare the economic situation of southern member states to someone wasting money on “alcohol and women” and then asking for financial help.

His absence has been condemned by GUE/NGL, and the Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani, has sent an official letter of protest to Dijsselbloem for the no-show.

Photo courtesy of Garry Knight on Flickr

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