Carthy condemns Eurogroup's latest attacks on Greece
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has condemned the Eurogroup's decision this week to only release a limited amount of the next tranche of bailout funds to the Greek government, despite the fact that Greece has fulfilled all of its requirements to date under the Memorandum.
Carthy was speaking in Brussels this week during a debate today on the European Commission's Structural Reform Support Programme for Greece in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.
The Sinn Féin MEP said:
"Yet again we see the Eurogroup changing the goalposts for Greece, and yet again we see the Greek people being punished.
"Despite the fact that the Greek government has met all of its commitments to structural reform to date, the Eurogroup has announced it will only release around one-third of the funds that were expected by the end of October.
“Last month the Greek Parliament approved a new round of austerity measures required to gain access to this €2.8bn of bailout funding under the Third Memorandum. This largely consisted of privatisations, additional pension system reforms and further liberalisation of the electricity market.
“A new privatisation fund, the Hellenic Company of Assets and Participations, will take control of large state-owned companies and other assets for 99 years.
"The two main water utilities, the Greek electricity and Athens subway firms are proposed to be transferred. If a certain amount is raised by the sale of these assets, then the government will be permitted to spend 50% of the funds raised on public investment. But it is highly unlikely that it will ever reach this target due to the fire-sale nature of the assets, which will not sell for their true value.
“The predecessors of the Structural Reform Support Programme in place since 2011 have pursued a single-minded agenda of designing and imposing deregulation in labour and product markets in the affected Member States against the democratic will of their populations, and have failed to achieve economic growth and recovery."
“Structural reform that is only aimed at deregulating labour and product markets is based on the assumption that flexible prices and wages are they key to responding to economic shocks but empirical evidence shows such reforms have failed to deliver growth and contributed to deflation.
"Such reforms have also failed to result in the mobilisation of private capital. In the absence of a programme of massive public investment, this Structural Reform Support Programme is bound to fail in its stated objective of contributing to economic growth and recovery.
“Participation in the Programme must be strictly voluntary for Member States and cannot include compulsory or punitive measures regarding implementation. Withdrawal from participation the Programme must be able to occur immediately on request of the Member State."