Victory for SYRIZA can be new chapter for Europe as a whole
GUE/NGL MEPs have expressed their unequivocal support to their SYRIZA comrades this week who are on the cusp of a general election victory in Greece.
At a special press briefing this afternoon in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Gabi Zimmer, GUE/NGL President, expressed her solidarity with SYRIZA on behalf of the whole group.
“These elections could lead to a better future for Greece,” she said. “That is why we are 100% behind our friends in SYRIZA. Their victory would be a clear message of change and hope to the whole of Europe, a message that neo-liberal policies of austerity and social deprivation, which made Greece a debt colony, are not a one-way road. It would be a triumph for Greek democracy over banks and corporations; it would be a victory for all European progressive forces.
“We demand that the sovereignty of the Greek people be respected and we will continue to call out undemocratic attempts to interfere and incite fear among the population.”
EP Vice-President and SYRIZA MEP Dimitrios Papadimoulis said: “The Troika programme that has been implemented over the last five years has failed terribly and it has had catastrophic consequences for our economy and society: we have an enormous humanitarian crisis and unemployment is over 25%, with youth unemployment at 55%. We've had a lot of our productive capabilities destroyed. Our sovereign debt now stands at 180% of GDP – up from 125% before the Troika memoranda era began.
“On 25 January, we hope our voters will grant us a great victory – our aim is a parliamentary majority – and even if we achieve this result we will not try to have a one-party government – we will reach out: our political efforts are wide.”
Papadimoulis continued: “We are against the neoliberal ideology of cuts to salaries, pensions, and social welfare as the only way to reform. We stand for a clear, just, and modern tax system. We believe that the rich should pay more than the poor. Greek ship owners currently pay one-quarter of the taxes paid by their crew staff, for example. We want to build a state free from cronyism.
“Without a write-down in debt we will not get back to growth – we need to make the debt viable. We need a European conference on debt as EU leaders must do whatever it takes to find a viable solution to Greek debt – and all European debt. Austerity means using taxpayers' money to pay back previous loans to private lenders and European credit institutes. We need to end this burden on the European taxpayer.”
Reacting to the recent scaremongering campaigns against SYRIZA, MEP Papadimoulis added: “SYRIZA is not against Europe – we are not an anti-Euro political party. The so-called 'grexit' theory that was being peddled by conservatives across Europe is dead. Martin Schulz has described it as dangerous nonsense and even the ECB said yesterday that it can buy state bonds; a clear answer to the German-led blackmail attempt.
“Therefore the fear campaign against SYRIZA has failed – the Greek people aren't buying it.”
He concluded: “A victory for SYRIZA can be a new chapter for Europe as a whole. From being the guinea pig of Europe we can become a bastion for positive change.”
GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group