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MEPs Slam Latest Greek Bailout As "Social Armageddon"
05-12-2016, 03:53 AM,
#1
MEPs Slam Latest Greek Bailout As "Social Armageddon"
MEPs Slam Latest Greek Bailout As "Social Armageddon"

<p>Lawmakers in the European Parliament have sharply condemned the latest Greek bailout deal - reached after weeks of negotiations - which they <strong>say will lead to &quot;Social Armageddon&quot; and &quot;too high a price to pay.&quot;</strong><a href="http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160511/1039419872/greece-eu-bailout-social-armageddon.html?utm_source=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2F0EwmGp9r3T&amp;utm_medium=short_url&amp;utm_content=bn95&amp;utm_campaign=URL_shortening"> As SputnikNews reports, </a>heated exchanges over the state of play of the Greek macro-economic adjustment program were seen in the European Parliament this week, and <strong>divisions are also very evident within the Troika</strong> itself as obvious need for debt relief (IMF) is scuttled by Germany and the Eurogroup.</p>
<p>On Monday (May 9th), The Eurogroup, Monday (May 9), <strong>agreed </strong>the latest package of measures for Greece to implement as part of the latest bailout deal.</p>
<p><strong>Controversially, it included cuts of 3% of GDP by 2018, including pension and personal income tax reform as well as VAT reform and public sector wage bill measures.</strong></p>
<p>However, there was disagreement within the Troika of creditors &mdash; the European Commission, the European Central Bank, (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) &mdash; over extra reforms demanded by the IMF that could amount to another US$4 billion in cuts by Greece, over and above what it has already promised.</p>
<p><strong><a href="In heated exchanges over the state of play of the Greek macro-economic adjustment program, the center-left parties — the Socialists &amp; Democrats (S&amp;D), European United Left (GUE) and the Greens/European Free Alliance — as well as European Conservatives &amp; Reformists (ECR) warned Greece's creditors and the IMF not to impose more reforms on the country and called for debt relief.">In heated exchanges over the state of play of the Greek macro-economic adjustment program</a></strong>, the center-left parties - the Socialists &amp; Democrats (S&amp;D), European United Left (GUE) and the Greens/European Free Alliance - as well as European Conservatives &amp; Reformists (ECR) warned Greece's creditors and the IMF not to impose more reforms on the country and called for debt relief.</p>
<blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>EPP leader Manfred WEBER (DE) criticised Prime Minister Tsipras. <strong>Referring to the 0.7% growth figure in 2014, he blamed the Tsipras government for slipping below zero growth in 2015 and &quot;harming the country&quot;.</strong> He took Ireland as an example of a programme country that recovered as a result of reforms.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>S&amp;D leader Gianni PITTELLA (IT) said that<strong> the problem is not Athens, but the IMF with its policy of preventive austerity.</strong> &quot;If they continue to sabotage an agreement, we have to go it alone&quot;, he said.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>ECR's Notis MARIAS labelled<em><u><strong> the Greek programme as &quot;violent and leading to a social Armageddon&quot;.</strong></u></em></p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>ALDE's Sylvie GOULARD (FR) said too many issues are being pushed toward 2018 because of the UK&rsquo;s EU referendum and elections in other countries and that it bears the risk of losing control over the adjustment programmes.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>GUE's Dimitrios PAPADIMOULIS criticised EPP leader Manfred Weber for his attack on Mr Tsipras: &quot;He did not create the Greek debt. The Greek people voted for him and want to keep him as their Prime Minister.&quot;</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>Green leader Philippe LAMBERTS (BE) said he did not share the optimism after yesterday's euro group meeting on Greece: <em><strong>&quot;The austerity of its creditors and the IMF is socially unacceptable. That's too high a price to pay.&quot;</strong></em></p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>Steven&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; WOOLFE (EFDD, UK) <strong><em>blamed the Eurogroup and the IMF for high unemployment and suicide rates in Greece and encouraged the Greeks &quot;to leave the EU like the UK will do on 23 June.&quot;</em></strong></p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>Marcel DE GRAAFF (ENF, NL) said <em><strong>Greece is bankrupt and urged &quot;to close the tap, to scrap the euro and return to the drachma&rdquo;. </strong></em></p>
</blockquote>
<p>Divisions within the Troika were revealed,<a href="http://sputniknews.com/europe/20160511/1039419872/greece-eu-bailout-social-armageddon.html?utm_source=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2F0EwmGp9r3T&amp;utm_medium=short_url&amp;utm_content=bn95&amp;utm_campaign=URL_shortening"> as SputnikNews reports, </a>in a leaked letter from IMF chief Christine Lagarde, who said:</p>
<blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;We do not believe it will be possible to reach a 3.5% of GDP primary surplus [in 2018] by relying on hiking already high taxes levied on a narrow base, cutting excessively discretionary spending and counting on one-off measures as has been proposed in recent weeks.&quot;</strong></p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p><u><strong>The IMF is calling for debt relief </strong></u>- the writing-off of part of Greece's debt, or 'haircut' in order for Athens to be able to sustain its reforms.</p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>However, in a statement, its Troika partners said: <u><strong>&quot;The Eurogroup reconfirms that nominal haircuts are excluded.&quot;</strong></u></p>
<p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>The latest measures agreed by parliament include reducing pension spending by about two percentage points to around 15 percent of GDP by 2019; setting social security contributions at 20 percent of employees' net monthly income &mdash; with 13.3 percent coming from employers and 6.7 percent from employees; and lowering the income tax-free threshold, or personal allowance, to an average of around US$10,000 a year from around US$10,800 and making income bands narrower.</p>
</blockquote>
<p><strong>Prepare for another 'hot' summer in Athens</strong> as already evidenced this week...</p>
<blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>There were mass strikes and demonstrations over the weekend (May 7/8) across the whole of Greece as many public service unions took actions in protest at the Greek Parliament bringing forward a vote on the new bailout package, finally agreeing the new measures on Sunday evening.</p>
</blockquote>


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