Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke on Tuesday to the European Parliament on his vision of the future of Europe and the “success story” of the country that came out of the bailout era.
“Greece has made it. Three years later, it is part of the solution and not the problem. This is a success of the Greek people,” Tsipras said.
The Greek prime minister stressed that the country has now exited the bailouts, restored its economic sovereignty and achieved the position it deserves. “Now we are looking to the future with optimism,” he continued.
He stressed that “Greece’s exit from the last fiscal adjustment programme does not mean a return to the past.”
He also took a swipe against Greece’s creditors that championed austerity saying that “The institutions’ insistence on strict fiscal adjustment led Greece to suffocation.”
“The failure of the European Union to find democratic solutions to this type of crisis is what feeds chauvinism and nationalism,” he told the European Parliament.
“Europe has become more technocratic, with decisions taken behind closed doors by informal bodies that are not accountable to citizens,” he said, referring to the Troika. He regretted that the European Parliament played a secondary role during the Greek crisis in the face of the Eurogroup and the “IMF and other technocratic groups”.
Conservative MEP: You have changed a great deal
Speaking on behalf of the European People’s Party (EPP) group at the European parliament on Tuesday, Esteban Gonzalez Pons said to Tsipras that “I see you have changed a great deal; in 2015 Greece was a country on the brink of a cliff when everyone else had turned their back on you,” and he praised both the current government and the previous Greek government led by Antonis Samaras.
“We must congratulate the Greek citizens who voted to stay in Europe,” for the rescue and exit from the memoranda, said Pons, adding that “we must not forget what the citizens have done.”
Commenting on Tsipras’ reference to technocrats, Pons stressed that the whole of Europe had pitched in to save Greece, showing values and principles based on solidarity.
“At the start of your term we lost valuable time, 100 billion euros were lost due to Varoufakis (Yanis, former Finance Minister). I see you have changed, you are making positive steps but more steps are needed,” he added, addressing Tsipras.
He also expressed his concern over the fact that “approximately 500,000 young Greeks have left the country” and concluded “we are concerned that populism may return. It is in your hands, you made a mistake in 2015. Populism is neither right- nor left-wing”.
EP in Strasbourg kicking off with Feel Good Program. Greek PM Tsipras and Commission telling everyone how great Greece is doing now.
That will change this afternoon when Viktor Orban makes an appearance. EP could vote in favor of Art. 7 procedure against Hungary tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/l0BmAjf4pN
— Maximilian Hofmann (@maxhofmann) September 11, 2018