In response to statements by French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the European Parliament this afternoon, GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer called for a union based on greater solidarity and democracy.

Gabi Zimmer said: “25 years ago your predecessors Chancellor Kohl and President Mitterrand took a joint initiative here to promote the European integration process against the backdrop of democratic movements in Eastern Europe. But times have changed. For many, both of you represent an “Old Europe” that has failed.”

Addressing Chancellor Merkel, she said: “You shoulder a lot of responsibility that the Community method has been gradually replaced by the Union method. This had led to a division of Europe into politically and economically strong and weak member states. You say that the EU has led to more prosperity; no, recently the EU has increased poverty in the south and this has brought about a split in the EU. The people reject an EU where Financial Ministers now dictate how solidarity and living conditions have to be understood.”

She continued: “The Eurogroup has brutally blackmailed Greece but despite that, the Greek people did not lose their trust in Syriza  or Tsipras because they are not part of the old system in Greece which was part of the “Old Europe”.

On the migration crisis, Gabi Zimmer added: “It is our moral and legal duty to treat refugees with humanity and dignity but that is not happening in the EU. It's time that we moved away from the Dublin Regulation and towards a common migration and asylum policy worthy of the name and based on the values of humanity.”

“How the EU dealt with Greece and the migration crisis shows that we don't have solidarity between equals. But the real sword hanging over our heads is austerity and under austerity we are not able to defend our values. We must stop budget cuts which mean that austerity is being suffered only by certain vulnerable people.”

To conclude Ms Zimmer warned: “If we carry on like this, the Community will be dead. The Franco-German engine is stuttering and stalling. You raised a lot of issues here but you did not raise the prospects of more democracy or a social union. Your speeches were expected to inspire. You did not live up to our expectations”

GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

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