NEWS

Swoboda calls for more reform, less austerity in Greece

The MEP who leads the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democracy in the European Parliament, Hannes Swoboda, has called on Greece?s lenders to place more emphasis on structural reforms rather than austerity.

Speaking a day before Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Swoboda called for a change in policy from the troika.

?The talks that Prime Minister Samaras will hold in Germany should lead to a clear and long-term strategy for structural reforms,? he said. ?The austerity measures that the EU has requested are only one part of the reform process. Radical reforms of the fiscal system remain vital to allow sustainable financing of public expenditure.

?At the same time, creating new incentives for investors and cutting red tape would lead to more investment and thereby more growth and employment. The austerity measures must not suffocate internal demand, particularly as the preconditions for exports still need to be improved. The Troika must take this into account.?

Swoboda underlined that Greece has already applied substantial austerity measures and that steps to revive its economy were needed.

?Greece is the European country that has implemented the harshest austerity measures during the crisis,? he said. ?It now needs a sensible combination of saving and investment. Politicians should stop speculating about a eurozone collapse. Statements of this sort only feed the reactions on the financial markets that hurt the eurozone further.?

The MEP said that Greece was a test case for the European Union and called on Athens to do all it could as well.

?The case of Greece will determine whether or not the EU can ? against the neo-liberal ideology ? effectively assist a country in implementing structural reforms in due time,? he said. ?The commitment to reforms in Greece is of course essential. The new coalition government seems to understand this.

?Now it is up to Europe to provide the solidarity and economically sound advice needed to aid the country and stabilise the eurozone.?