GUE/NGL
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EU leaders must tackle crisis of democracy

Ahead of tomorrow's informal assembly of EU heads of government which will see new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras participate for the first time, GUE/NGL MEPs have expressed support for the new Greek government's plan for a debt deal in a bid to break with the austerity doctrine.

“This European Council is not about individual countries, it is about the future of the EU,” said GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer, speaking in a Parliament debate this morning ahead of tomorrow's summit.

Responding to previous EPP and ALDE group leaders on the situation in Greece, Zimmer continued: “It is very difficult for politicians to face up to failures of political strategies which are the foundations of their own policies. To deviate from them and come up with different strategies and policies is more difficult still.”

She continued: “Troika austerity policies have been the wrong path; we are dealing with a deep crisis in our democracy. If the Eurogroup and Council meetings are able to appreciate what has happened and to take some of this responsibility, people may stop worrying.”

Greek MEP Dimitrios Papadimoulis said: “The policy of extreme unilateral austerity has been defeated. We are trying to find a solution, with growth rather than austerity, changing the tax system, the civil service, combatting bureaucracy and corruption and allowing Greece to have self-respect again. We want to reduce the burden of debt without depriving the European taxpayer of the money that is theirs.”

He continued: “What we need is constructive advice for a mutually agreed solution and removing those who just want to carry on with unilateral austerity.”

“I don't see what is so radical about Alexis Tsipras' proposals; he has said that they want to pay the debt by finding a mutually beneficial solution,” added Spanish MEP Pablo Iglesias. “A bridging loan till June and linking debt to growth – that doesn't seem radical to me either.”

“What would be radical would be to carry on doing the same things that have pushed Greece to disaster.”

Spanish MEP Marina Albiol added: “Today this Parliament should condemn the extortion which the European Central Bank is exercising on the Greek people. It is clearly punishing those who voted for the Left, those who are challenging the powerful and putting life and dignity before macro-economics. This is not a question of SYRIZA against Europe; it is about the people against the powerful.”

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