“Losing fundamental elements of our national sovereignty is out of the question. They are the reason I gave the battle and will give it again if necessary. We change things not to satisfy Brussels but to liberate Greece and get it over with,” Prime Minister George Papandreou stressed speaking in Parliament on Friday.
The PM was categorical when challenged by opposition Popular Orthodox Rally (LA.O.S) leader George Karatzaferis, who stated that during the EU Summit on March 25 the premier will be called to say if he will agree to cede Greece’s national sovereignty as demanded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“Germany comes to impose its terms and take away our national sovereignty without having legal ground for this. This is unreal,” Karatzaferis maintained.
Commenting on the criticism for the frequent visits by the troika (IMF-ECB-EU) representatives, the inspections made and the implementation of tough measures demanded from Greece, the premier underlined that “lawlessness, overspending and mismanagement that goes back for years, are to blame for our country’s dependence on the loan instalments and not the troika. Our efforts are aimed at ensuring that the country will not be in the same position again…We proceed with major reforms to make our country strong. And this is not easy.”
PM Papandreou stressed that “no Greek citizen or parliament deputy feels proud to watch the troika representatives visiting the country every three months in order to check it and give the loan.”
“Assuming our share of responsibility and not putting the blame on others is an act of patriotism. We did not run away like the Karamanlis government,” he said, adding that “what we do for the country is imposed by our political consciousness and the Greek people’s interest.”
Responding to Karatzaferis, who stressed that Europe should guarantee Greece’s borders so that the country will not have to pay for armaments, the premier stated that he raised “the defence issue the day it was decided that Greece will receive a loan” and defended the EU policy referring to the support offered to Greece stressing, however, that Europe will have to be more progressive.
“Europe stood by us and prevented the country’s default. Furthermore, we received the largest loan ever, transcending the Maastricht terms. Losing our nationalsovereignty is out of the question. We can further promote our country’s interests through a common union and a progressive Europe. We wish to cede authorities to a Europe that will operate through collective bodies functioning with one voice and through democratic procedures. We are not being threatened by European institutions. On the contrary, they give us the potential to resist and change. If Europe was not as conservative as it is there would be greater will to confront the huge inequalities and injustices,” PM Papandreou underlined.
He also cited a statement on Europe made by Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker who said that “the baby is not born yet to give it a name”.