S&D Group President in Greece: „All parties must act responsibly – and fast“

Hannes Swoboda, President of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, travelled to Greece this week to meet the leaders of the country’s left-wing parties as well as Greek finance minister Yannis Stournaras. Hannes Swoboda urged all parties to agree on a responsible reform package: „All parties in Greece have to take a responsible stand on the new reform package which is the basis for continued financial support from the European Union. It is important to come to an agreement on the financial package as soon as possible. „The proposed labour market reforms are a critical issue from a social democratic point of view. We must therefore insist that these reforms do not undermine the principles of collective bargaining as this is a key element of Europe’s social model. Any exception to this principle must only be a temporary crisis measure. „In this respect I support Pasok and Dimar (the Democratic Left), the two left-wing parties in the government, in their demands for increased flexibility and a positive response from the Troika. I want to reiterate my call for sustainable reforms of the labour market and for experts from the ILO (International Labour Organisation) to join the Troika to find an acceptable solution for Greece. This could also benefit other countries in crisis. „Europe must ensure that reform packages have the support and acceptance of the citizens of the respective countries, rather than coming as a diktat from abroad. It is also particularly important that workers‘ representatives are involved in the social reforms of the labour market.“