Greek politician calls for rejection of treaty


UNITED LEFT ALLIANCE:A PROMINENT member of Greece’s radical left party Syriza has called on Irish voters “to revolt against austerity” by rejecting next week’s fiscal treaty referendum.

At a press conference in Dublin yesterday, hosted by the United Left Alliance, Despina Charalampidou said Greece was “a living example of the economic disaster” of austerity.

Ms Charalampidou, who was elected to the Greek parliament earlier this month as part of a surge in support for anti-bailout parties, said austerity policies were destroying her country and the living standards of low- and middle-income workers across the continent.

“In Greece 50 per cent of hospital beds have been cut, 50 per cent of young people are unemployed.

“We are seeing more suicide, homelessness and even malnutrition.”

She said if the Irish people vote No on May 31st they would not be alone as there was a revolt against austerity going on right across Europe.

Asked if she thought Greece would leave the euro zone, Ms Charalampidou said: “We don’t want to leave the euro. We like the European Union, it is our home.”

However, she said her party wanted a Europe based on equality and justice, and stood against the current policy agenda being imposed on other countries by Germany.

At the conference Socialist MEP Paul Murphy said the pro-treaty side was “outrageously attempting” to use what was happening in Greece to scare people into voting Yes.

This was incredible, he said, as Greece was the first country to ratify the stability treaty and “look at the stability that has resulted”.

“What’s happened in Greece is a product not of left-wing policies being implemented … but a consequence of austerity heaped upon austerity, and two memoranda with the troika which have devastated society.”

He also questioned Government assurances that EU leaders agreed there would be no changes to the text of the fiscal treaty at the summit in Brussels on Wednesday.

“If you read the press lines that were released about the council meeting there is no reference to the treaty.”

He also said such a move would have required “a major climb-down” on the part of French president François Hollande, who has repeatedly stated that the “treaty as is will not be ratified”.

“I think the reality is, and they are trying to hide this from the Irish people, is that this treaty is falling apart all across Europe, and we have an opportunity on the May 31st, literally, to blow it apart.”