Brussels (ANA-MPA) — A European Council decision on Friday to set up a permanent support mechanism for Eurozone countries was a “major victory”, Prime Minister George Papandreou said here, expressing Athens’ and all the member-states’ firm opposition to the “unacceptable”, as he said, proposal for a suspension of member-state voting rights in the EU Councils of Ministers as part of a “penalty mechanism”.
In a press conference shortly after the end of the EU Summit meeting here, Papandreou clarified that a general framework of a permanent support mechanism was presented, and pointed out that its operation will be specialised, based on a European Commission proposal after consultations with EU member-states.
Referring to Greek recommendations as regards the future support mechanism, Papandreou stressed that it will have to be prepared in a way that will contribute to Europe’s development course to overcome the existing inequalities between the member-states.
“When a few months ago Greece was caught in the vortex of the economic crisis, we had suggested the creation of a support mechanism to intervene dynamically in cases of market speculation practices targeting a country. We pointed to the creation of a mechanism to undertake the unobstructed flow of funds and loans when interest rates make borrowing for a country impossible. We fought and a temporary mechanism was created,” Papandreou stressed.
The prime minister characterised as “unacceptable” the EU Presidency proposal, which suggested that a country with high deficits be deprived of its right to vote in the Councils of Ministers, stressing that Greece was clearly against it.
“The fight we gave was not just Greek, but a European fight as well,” he said, pointing out that the suspension of the right to vote would mean for a country that it will not have a say on important issues such as security, national defence, common agricultural policy, regional policy etc.
“This proposal deeply hurts the democratic right of the EU states; and the EU has a tradition on democracy which we do not want to undermine,” he said characteristically.
As regards the discussion of the EU 27 on the prevention of future economic crises, Papandreou stressed that “counterincentives” were decided for countries with high fiscal deficits as a result of bad practices.
“From now on, countries will have to be judged by their actions and not for their past,” he stressed.
Responding to a question on the likelihood of snap elections in Greece, the premier said he is “determined to go ahead, firmly and consistently, with the major changes that will be beneficial for the people and the country.”
He pointed out that “the rising spreads showed how vulnerable the country is to moves that can be interpreted as instability.”
Papandreou concluded that his intention was to “give a boost to a responsible vote in the face of an existing crisis which the opposition often refuses to admit.”
Asked about the prospect of an extension of the period of repayment of the EU-ECB-IMF bailout, Papandreou said this specific issue was brought up, initially, by IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, in order to assist Greece in overcoming its economic crisis, as he said.
Moreover, queried over recurring press speculation of a snap election in the country, Papandreou said he was determined to move the country forward with stability and responsibility, “towards major changes that will be beneficial for the people and for Greece”.
“My proposal is to increase the vote of responsibility vis-a-vis a crisis that exists, and which the main opposition has on many occasions failed to recognise; but it (ND) has its great responsibility for its actions. I expected that it would say overseas what it says in the country, with the same language.”
In a reaction to the premier’s statements from Brussels, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party later characterised Papandreou as the “architect of political double-speak”.
ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos stated the prime minister calls for “renegotiations” after voting in favour of the memorandum.
“It is not the opposition’s fault because his policy was unsuccessful,” he added, stressing that the prime minister “prescribed the wrong medicine, one that kills the Greek economy and its reforms every day.”
“ND President Antonis Samaras fights for real reform both in the country and abroad using a concrete exit plan from the crisis,” he concluded.
KKE on the EU Summit
Communist Party of Greece (KKE) general secretary Aleka Papariga on Friday again called on voters to shun ruling PASOK party and main opposition New Democracy (ND) in the upcoming Nov. 7 local government elections.
Commenting on EU Summit decisions of a day earlier, Papariga stressed that “the Greek people have a responsibility not only to ignore the prime minister’s snap elections blackmail, or bluff, but to reverse the issue and corner the government, making it as weak as possible while, and at the same time, to put an end to the games played by (ND leader Antonis) Samaras.”
Papariga stated that “the essence of the EU Summit discussion was the fact that there was a talk on controlled bankruptcy.”