“Despite your pride in your figures, it's clear that in crisis countries we have a humanitarian disaster” GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer told Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in this morning's European Parliament debate on his government's priorities as Greece takes over the rotating Council Presidency.

“Behind your figures are the realities,” she told Mr Samaras. “Drastic cuts to public budgets have contributed to violations of human rights – you can't pull the wool over our eyes.”

“As Greece was the first country to implement a memorandum, the Greek people know all too well the consequences of wrong-headed radical market-driven policies. The huge levels of youth and long-term unemployment look like they're here to stay. You won't solve these problems by drastically cutting social benefits. People have to survive before you can ask them to pay back debts. You must isolate some of this debt as illegitimate, private debt, which has wrongfully been converted into public debt. People must come first – it seems normality is now that competitiveness comes first and that people have to pay the bills of an irresponsible financial sector.”

GUE/NGL MEP Nikos Chountis referred to a speech by Commission Vice-President Olli Rehn last week: “Rehn said recently that if Greek debt had been restructured in 2010 this would have passed the crisis into the banking sector. This statement is a major confession: what it means is that we sacrificed Greece to save the European financial casino, and to ensure that the elites could hold on to their privileges. The political and financial elites that pushed us towards the crisis have come out unscathed while nothing meaningful is being done to tackle historic levels of unemployment and poverty.”

“This programme is a continuation of the anti-people strategy of the capitalist EU, no propaganda mechanism can hide the truth,” said GUE/NGL MEP Georgios Toussas. Focusing criticisms on the integrated maritime policy and the common security and defence policy of the EU, Toussas called on the Greek people to unilaterally write down their debt and achieve workers' power.

GUE/NGL Press:
David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08

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