Hannes Swoboda: "Phase out the Troika & open way for growth in Greece"

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras

Today the Bureau of the S&D Group returned from a working visit to Athens where they met with the Greek government ahead of their EU Presidency starting on 1 January 2014. During the visit the S&D Group stressed its solidarity with Greece and reiterated its call to phase out the Troika and their neoliberal approach of austerity.

Among others the S&D Bureau met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Evangelos Venizelos, finance minister Giannis Stournaras, Greek entrepreneurs and NGOs in the field of migration as well as mayors of several Greek cities.

Commenting on the visit, S&D Group president Hannes Swoboda said:

"Greece is on a positive restructuring path and the country has done an enormous amount of work on radical reforms. These included the reduction of the public sector and the bureaucratic burden. In addition, qualitative reforms such as the strengthening of competences of regional and local authorities have to be on-going. All this helps to improve the economic situation and to open the way for growth.

"However, problems are not yet solved and it is disgraceful that the Troika still demands more cuts which do not help the reform cause but endanger the support of Greek citizens for restructuring.

"With demands such as auctions of property if credits cannot be paid, the Troika destroys the confidence of the citizens in the Greek governments' ability for reform.

"My appeal still stands that in general the Troika should be phased out and, especially in Greece, the Troika should assume more social responsibility. It is not for the weakest to suffer most from the crisis due to overly harsh austerity measures from the "Des-Troika".

On the upcoming EU Presidency programme Hannes Swoboda concluded:

"I fully agree with the Greek Government's priorities for the EU Presidency ranging from growth to economic integration and migration policy. Greece is directly affected by these problems and will credibly be able to work on these priorities with all players involved in the next year".