Greek American political elite finally wakes up, letter sent to Obama HALC’s letter to US president was signed by 8,000 people. Secretary of Treasury Lew calls on all sides to ‘set aside rhetoric’ and work on a pragmatic solution.
New York.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis
The Obama administration escalated its involvement in the negotiations between Greece and its Eurozone partners, ahead of Monday’s Eurogroup meeting in Brussels. Followed the talks between President Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel, at the White House, on February 9, various members of the U.S. administration have sent the message on all sides to find a solution that enables Greece to remain in the Eurozone and move into o path of growth, outside the harsh austerity.
Caroline Atkinson, deputy-national security adviser, speaking at a gathering at Chatham House in London. said the eurozone authorities had imposed the main burden of adjustment on the weaker deficit states and should do more to accept their share of responsibility for the euro crisis and make it socially fairer.
“It is important for creditors to take into account that Greece has had a very sharp drop in incomes, real wages, and output as well as a big rise in unemployment. Greece has moved into primary surplus. How much more fiscal consolidation is necessary?” Atkinson said.
Caroline Atkinson said the White House is relieved that “both sides” are starting to pull back from the brink and called on both sides to find a compromise.
“We believe it is strongly in the interests of the Greek people and Europe more generally that Greece and its creditors work out a compromise for Greece to stay in the euro and thrive in the euro,” she said.
Few hours later, U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, in a statement issued after a phone call Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras late on Friday, called on all sides to leave rhetoric aside and focus on a pragmatic solution, according to a message issued by his office after he spoke with
The U.S. Treasury announcement reads as follows:
“Today, Secretary Jacob J. Lew spoke by phone with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to discuss the latest developments in Greece. Secretary Lew said that he looks forward to working with the new Greek government as it proceeds to articulate a concrete and comprehensive reform agenda in partnership with Europe and international institutions.
“Secretary Lew urged all parties to set aside rhetoric and focus on reaching a pragmatic path forward. Secretary Lew welcomed the fact that Greece and its partners are engaged in technical discussions and noted that Monday’s Eurogroup meeting marks a significant opportunity to achieve concrete progress.”
According to British “Daily Telegraph”, the US administration does not share the widespread view in Europe that there is little risk of contagion if the European Central Bank cuts off liquidity support for the Greek banking system and forces the country out of the euro.
President Barack Obama has seized on the Greek crisis to push for a broader reflation strategy in Europe. “You cannot keep on squeezing countries that are in the midst of depression. At some point there has to be a growth strategy in order for them to pay off their debts,” he said earlier this month.
Washington is increasingly disturbed by the successive downgrades to global growth forecasts over recent months, fearing that the world’s fragile recovery may stall if Europe and Asia continue to rely on the US to carry the international system.
LETTER TO OBAMA
Three Democratic members of the U.S House of Representatives of Greek descent, John Sarbanes, Dina Titus and Niki Tsongas, in a letter to President Barack Obama, express their encouragement by his statement towards Greece and call on the United States “to stand by our longtime ally and use our influence where possible to assist Greece.”
The fourth Greek American Congressman, Gus Bilirakis didn’t co-sign the letter.
“We agree that there must be a new, more balanced approach to assist Greece in the short term and promoting economic growth”, they said. Adding that “It is to no one’s benefit if Greece fails and withdraws from the European Union”, the three members of Congress point out, underlining that Greece is a long standing ally of the United States, both countries share common values and at the same “it is in our strategic interest to see Greece succeed.
The location of Greece in Europe makes it an important partner in engagement and dialogue with the Middle East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa and South-West Asia.”
They point out to the President that his continued leadership can help ensure that EU and Greece will move forward together on a path of stability
Finally, they stress the need for the United States to assist Greece forge a new path towards economic prosperity and call on the President to help by keeping the parties focused on their common interests.
Hellenic American Leadership Council, a grass root organization with headquarters in Chicago and branches in major U.S. cities, launched a campaign urging Greek Americans to ask the U.S. government to continue to stand with Greece as it seeks renegotiation of its debt deal
So far almost 8,000 people signed the electronic letter to President Barack Obama.
You may sign the letter by visiting the following link:
In a message, HALC’s Executive Director Endy Zemenides, says “As Greece’s new government seeks to renegotiate the terms of its debt deal with European leaders, it becomes more important than ever for leaders around the world to stand with Greece as it seeks out a fairer deal.
The United States has already expressed its preference for a new growth strategy for Greece. Sign on to our letter asking that President Barack Obama continue to express solidarity with Greece and with Greeks who have suffered too much as a result of an unreasonably austerity-heavy European policy toward Greece. We will personally deliver your signatures to the White House and to administration officials.”
The letter states:
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing to express my support for your strong message on restoring economic prosperity in Greece and keeping Greece in the European Union and the Eurozone.
You are absolutely correct in pointing out that “…there has to be a growth strategy in order for [Greece] to pay off their debts to eliminate some of their deficits,” and that an agreement “will require compromise on all sides.”
At a time when too few leaders on the international stage are emphasizing growth over draconian austerity, you correctly note that “what we’ve learned from the U.S. experience …is that the best way to reduce deficits and to restore fiscal soundness is to grow. And when you have an economy that is in a free-fall there has to be a growth strategy and not simply the effort to squeeze more and more from a population that is hurting worse and worse.”
It is imperative that the United States do all that it can to help achieve a fair, sound and enduring solution to Greece’s economic and humanitarian crisis. A stable and prosperous Greece is important for global and U.S. economies and for our nation’s strategic interests.
The Greek people desperately need your continued support to help alleviate their suffering. Greeks have been and remain close democratic partners of the United States and resolute supporters of our common values within the NATO alliance.
We urge you to continue speaking out in solidarity with Greece, and to use your influence among European leaders in order to stress a new way forward for Greece and for Europe as a whole, one that emphasizes growth, reform and respect.