“Europe pretended that it was not listening”

Thodoros Skylakakis MEP, President of ALDE member party Drassi, speaks about the European elections as well as the recent developments in Greece:

Just in time for the European elections, Greece seems to slowly move forward. The government announced a primary surplus and now stands up for the discussion about the debt. Is this really a success for the country?

The so-called success story is actually only a success of tax increases. In February 2012, when Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his Vice-PM Evangelos Venizelos IMG_1247signed the second memorandum, they predicted a recession of about 4-5 per cent of the GDP for the years 2012 and 2013. Ultimately the recession – because of political uncertainty, high taxation and the delay of any reforms – reached 10 per cent. This equaled additional costs of 10 billion Euro and further 200.000 unemployed people. It is a tragic expense paid by the private sector of the Greek economy.

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Upcoming event: Priorities of the Greek Presidency 2014 – A liberal view

greekpresidencyThe following six months are a crucial time period for the EU. Greece, which will hold the Presidency for the fifth time since its accession in 1981, will oversee the completion of the banking union as well as the European Parliament elections in May. While juggling the busy schedule of the rotating Presidency, Greece will also have to handle significant internal developments, such as the local elections 18-15 May and continued negotiations with its international creditors. In Vilnius Greek Prime Minister Samaras explained the priorities of the Greek EU Presidency as “to remove European economies from recession”, “further integration of the EU-Eurozone”, “comprehensive migration management” as well as “redefining EU Maritime Policy”. Greece will spend around €50 million, an amount it can ill-afford, during the Presidency, all the while having its domestic budget scoured by international lenders. “It shall be a Spartan presidency when it comes to the budget and an Athenian one when it comes to values”, EUobserver quotes an official. Is Greece going to be able to anchor the issues it wants to talk about the most at the top of the EU? Will Greece benefit from the attention it receives during the following six? And finally, will the local elections harm or help in the process of taking on EU-level responsibilities?

To see the programme and register, click here.

Griechenland: Den Bogen überspannt?

3Am 11. Juni 2013 beschloss die griechische Regierung, den öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk ERT (Ellinikí Radiofonía Tileórasi) mit sofortiger Wirkung abzuschalten. Die rund 2700 Bediensteten wurden unvermittelt entlassen und teilweise während Livesendungen aus den Aufnahmestudios geleitet. Ab 21.00 Uhr erfolgte unter Polizeischutz die Abschaltung sämtlicher Sendeanlagen; gegen Mitternacht verstummte auch der letzte Mittelwellensender auf der Traditionsfrequenz 729 Kilohertz. Seit Mittwochnacht wird aus dem von Angestellten besetzt gehaltenen Rundfunkhaus nur noch über das Internet gesendet – und Griechenland steht vor der nächsten schweren Regierungskrise.

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