S&D Group: „Lay all options on the table to give Greece a chance“
The S&D Group has repeatedly called on eurozone countries not to keep surpluses gained through financial support to Greece through the bailout programme. Germany for instance made a surplus of €400m during the first Greek bailout programme, due to lending money at significantly higher interest rates.
Recent discussions have seen various options arise in the handling of both incurred surpluses and the continuously high Greek debt levels. German Finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble suggested transferring the interest rate surplus to Greece. Negotiators are also discussing the option of direct transfers to Greece, in order to lower the debt level, as an alternative to a previously suggested debt cut.
Commenting on the different options, Hannes Swoboda, S&D Group president, said:
„In all my talks on Greece I have always said that those who are currently complaining the loudest are actually making the biggest profits out of the situation. Mr Schäuble’s proposal to return the interest rate benefit to Greece is therefore not only positive but long-overdue and we fully support this approach.
„Other parties and European countries should follow this line and should take courageous measures that will motivate people to go on with the urgently needed reforms.
„If a debt cut cannot be agreed for Greece, then the option of direct transfers is the right one. What is needed is immediate financial security to continue the necessary reforms and to give the Greek people confidence in European solidarity. I am confident that taxpayers in contributing countries will understand that this is an investment in Europe, which in the long-term benefits all countries and therefore all citizens.“
Maria-Elena Koppa, S&D Group Member and Head of the Greek S&D Delegation in the EP added:
„If this proposal became a reality, it would be a positive message for the Greek people and badly needed by the population in order to undertake the much-needed reforms.
„What is needed in Greece now, are encouraging messages and measures from Europe and especially from Germany“.