MEPs take Dijsselbloem and Eurogroup to task after years of Greek austerity
GUE/NGL MEPs have reproached Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Commissioner Pierre Moscovici at the plenary this morning during the debate on the second review of the economic adjustment programme for Greece.
There was added spice to the proceedings as Dijsselbloem had avoided appearing before the European Parliament until today, having previously made remarks which appeared to compare the economic situation of southern member states to someone wasting money on 'alcohol and women' and then demanding financial help.
First up was Vice-President of the European Parliament Dimitrios Papadimoulis who said Dijsselbloem has a choice to make when it comes to securing his legacy:
“ ‘The Eurogroup must have a concrete plan for primary surplus and debt on 22nd May’ - these are the words of Mr Juncker - not mine.”
“ ‘Greece has made a tremendous effort and we have to recognise this in action’ - again, Mr Juncker’s words,” said the Greek MEP.
“The Greek people have paid enough, they have made huge changes and sacrifices and suffered unemployment - this game of ping-pong between Berlin and the IMF on the back of the Greek people has gone on for long enough.”
“Mr Dijsselbloem, as a social democrat, what do you want your historical legacy to be? Do you want to be the President of the Eurogroup that contributed to a holistic agreement on the 22nd of May or do you want to be remembered for those unfortunate declarations about women and drinks? I think you still have the time to choose between these two options,” said Papadimoulis.
German MEP Fabio De Masi - who has been highly critical of Dijsselbloem’s ungentlemanly conduct throughout the past month and had even written an Oral Question demanding the Dutchman’s presence at the last plenary session in Strasbourg - had some Christian advice for Dijsselbloem’s future career:
“Everybody’s abandoned you - everyone except Schäuble. Even your own party is ashamed of you!”
“Only 5 per cent of Dutch voters chose your party after your austerity policy helped destroy social democracy in the country - just like your equivalent in France.”
“And throughout all this, you never came clean to us that the rescue of the euro was really about saving the banks of northern Europe. The Eurozone needs public investment and the Eurogroup requires democratic accountability.”
“Dijsselbloem explained his recent verbal failures by referring to Calvinism. Well, from one fellow Christian to another, here’s my brotherly advice: go now - in the name of God - just go!” said De Masi.
Greek MEP Nikolaos Chountis, meanwhile, did not hold back with his assessment of Dijsselbloem’s legacy:
“Mr Dijsselbloem, together with Greece’s willing, pro-austerity governments, has imposed austerity and caused the financial strangulation of the working class and pensioners in Greece.”
“As the executor of the financial death warrants, Dijsselbloem has created a living hell for the Greek workers,” he added.
Fellow Greek MEP Sofia Sakorafa also had choice words for the Eurogroup chief’s ambitious target of growth:
“With the enormous promise of a 3.5 per cent of budget surpluses - we would need to copy China, proceed in further cuts in social benefits, further privatisation – selling off of public wealth and natural resources - and at a time when 36 per cent of the Greek population is already living below the poverty line and there is more than 50 per cent youth unemployment as well as a complete lack of democratic control.”
“And this is what has been presented by the President of the Eurogroup who considers all Greeks are drunkards and womanisers. Is this the example he wants to give to the people of Europe?”
“I am certain that Ms Le Pen will be very thankful for the help we are giving her through these polices in her election campaign,” she lamented.