Edward Scicluna on Papandreou’s move

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s decision to put the eurozone rescue plan to a referendum caused a new round of uncertainty on the eurozone. The question is: why did Papandreou decide for a referendum?
Labour MEP Prof Edward Scicluna replying this question echoed by the “Times Business”, Thursday November 3, 2011, said that he can understand the Greek Prime Minister’s strategy very clearly. Papandreou wants to show that the real protestors are a minority.
Prof Scicluna’s opinion was sought by journalist Anthony Manduca for his piece titled “Euro crisis: Back to square one?”
Full contribution by Prof Scicluna follows:
Edward Scicluna, a Labour MEP and vice-chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee for Economic and Monetary Affairs, said Greece’s internal social and political problems have so far been kept out of the equation, if not brushed under the carpet.
“The EU and the IMF have considered these to be the Greek government’s own business. Considering that Greeks are being asked to undertake an austerity programme of unprecedented proportions few have an idea what the social outfall will be. The issue is a time-bomb.
“I can understand Papandreou’s strategy very clearly. He wants to show that the real protestors are a minority. If the unthinkable were to happen and the Greeks were to vote ‘No’, there will be no political ambiguity. He does not want to go the Portuguese, Irish and soon Spanish way where the opposition party use these protests to gain power while the austerity programmes stay as they were before,” Prof. Scicluna said.
Regarding last week’s eurozone rescue plan Prof. Scicluna said there was nothing new in the package “which was not known and discussed in our committee in the European Parliament during the last eight months or so”.
He added: “The difference is that Merkel now feels that the position is desperate enough for her to achieve the consent of the electorate and the Parliament, which in fact she got.”
Prof. Scicluna said he hoped this week’s G20 summit will announce an employment package, “a la Obama”, for the EU and pointed out that those countries which are strong enough to contribute should do so.
“It is ridiculous that the strong Nordic countries are trying to undergo austerity programmes themselves, too. The mentality in Germany and the Nordic countries is unfortunately that the imbalance between the strong and weak countries of the EU should be addressed solely by the weak countries.
“Just as the US rightfully asks China to do its part to correct the global imbalances, so should the peripheral EU deficit economies ask Germany and other surplus economies to their part as well. This myopic attitude towards what we here in Brussels refer to as the ‘symmetry principle’ is deepening the recession and endangering the euro and the EU as well,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *