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Lithuanian Presidency must break away from austerity doctrine

In a plenary debate this morning in the European Parliament, GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer set out the Group's expectations for the Lithuanian Presidency.

Following Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė's opening address where she set out her top Presidency priorities, MEP Zimmer commented: “I welcome the fact that with your Presidency an eastern European country will be taking over for the next six months and I hope that you will be an honest broker between the different EU institutions.”

She continued: “The media has dubbed you the 'iron lady' because of the major cuts to public spending you have made in Lithuania. I certainly hope this won't be an iron presidency. My Group hopes that the MFF will be further improved on in September and that questions surrounding where the money for tackling youth unemployment is coming from will be answered.

“In terms of human rights and democracy I'd like to see action on Hungary and a call for member states to protect whistleblower Edward Snowden rather than refusing him entry into their airspace.”

Gabi Zimmer also asked Grybauskaitė to address the effects of the austerity programmes that continue to be championed by EU leaders.

GUE/NGL MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou added: “You are the tenth Presidency since the crisis began. And throughout all these presidencies the Commission has failed to come up with a real solution to the youth unemployment problem. We are talking about tens of millions of young people who are not only losing jobs but who are losing their dignity as well.”

He also stressed that enlargement negotiations with Turkey should be suspended pending resolution of the Cyprus question.
 

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