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Euro Area Loan Bill not designed to help the people of Greece – Morgan

19 May, 2010

Speaking today at the second stage of the Euro Area Loan Facility Bill 2010, which makes provisions for Ireland’s contribution to the bilateral loans to Greece, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Finance Arthur Morgan said the real purpose of the Bill is to bail out Europe’s banks rather than to fund essential public services for Greece.

Deputy Morgan criticised both Fine Gael and Labour for opposing bank bail-outs in Ireland but supporting measures that will inflict them on the people of Greece.

He said:

“The heart of today’s debate is not just whether we give much-needed funds to an ailing Greece but if we can stand by and endorse holding the country’s recovery to ransom.

“A harsh austerity package that attacks the people of one member state will ultimately affect all member states and Sinn Féin is vehemently opposed to today’s legislative package.

“And I must point out the hypocrisy of both Fine Gael and the Labour Party who have opposed bank bail-outs here but are now supporting measures which inflict them on the people of Greece.

“The effect of fiscal austerity measures in the EU has been disastrous. Services, welfare, incomes and pay have all been slashed. Because of this, the taxes which governments rely on to service their debts have also plunged and led to wider deficits.

“It is demanded of Greece that the economy be hamstrung by pay cuts, jobs losses and privatisations and that it service a now increased level of debt. Reducing incomes while increasing debts only raises the risk of default, hence yields continue to rise.

“This slash and burn approach does not work and only increases both the budget deficits and the interest rates on Government debt. The terms and conditions attached to the monetary package for Greece will only make matters worse and lock Greece into an endless recession.

“The EU and IMF loans come with strict strings attached. This package is being used to underpin and legitimise the case for surveillance of national budgets, which is in turn a drastic dilution of local prerogatives and an improper intrusion into domestic concerns.

“An unelected eurocracy cannot make decisions in lieu of people who have been directly elected. The consequences of this legislation being adopted are such that the rigid adherence to the Stability and Growth Pact will outweigh the importance of rights such as health, education and decent employment. As the EU places more emphasis on unfettered allegiance to this pact, people and public services will suffer, as we are seeing in Greece.

“If this Bill was intended to fund essential public services for people in Greece, then Sinn Féin would support it. But this is not the purpose of this Bill. The real purpose of this Bill is to bail out European banks.” ENDS

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