EU-Greece: MEPs put pressure on Tsipras to renew talks

Greece has rejected its creditors' demands for further austerity in exchange for a bailout extension, raising questions about its future in the eurozone.

By Julie Levy-Abegnoli

06 Jul 2015

Parliament's political groupings have called for renewed negotiations with Athens after Greece largely rejected creditors' terms for a new bailout in Sunday's referendum. The 'no' option won with over 60 per cent of the votes.

Eurozone leaders are expected to hold an emergency summit this week, with the possibility of a Greek exit from the single currency looming on the horizon. 

Addressing voters, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras insisted that the result, "is not the mandate of a rupture with Europe, but a mandate to strengthen our negotiating position to seek a viable solution."


European People's Party group chair Manfred Weber said, "Greece has made its decision. Now we need to talk calmly about next steps. There are no easy or quick solutions."

However he did stress that, "the EU is composed of 28 democracies. The interests of all need to be taken into account; ideologies cannot decide the general path chosen."

Weber added, "Europe needs principles, otherwise cooperation cannot work. We are a community of solidarity, not the sum of national egoisms".

Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats chair Gianni Pittella noted, "for the whole of the EU, for national governments, for the Athens authorities and for the international creditors, the Greek crisis is a lesson from which we much draw conclusions for the future, so that the current situation or similar events in the future do not undermine the existence of the EU."

The Italian MEP called on policymakers to "reopen the negotiations inspired by a new attitude of solidarity and cooperation, taking into account the difficult social dimension in Greece. We expect the Greek government to come back to the negotiations with a renewed responsible attitude."

"It will also be time for some member states and ministers to stop with unacceptable rigidity, national selfishness and domestic political games".

Syed Kamall, chair of parliament's European Conservatives and Reformists group, warned, "the voice of the Greek people is being heard and it will shake the notion of some European leaders who believe that the peoples of European nations will always blindly vote for further integration and will always take rather than leave the offer on the table."

"We will see in the coming days how Greece's creditors react, but it would require the mother of all political fudges to give substantially more than they have already. Other eurozone countries have voters and taxpayers to consider too."

In Kamall's view, "if the Greek people can take advantage of devaluation to become a more attractive destination for investment and tourism then the least worst option may now to be for Greece to leave the euro."

"However, if they simply wait for better offers, this would not solve their long-term problems. We have reached such an impasse that devaluation and decoupling may be the long-term option", he said.

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe chair Guy Verhofstadt commented, "this rejection will create a lot of uncertainty and could even lead to an unwanted 'Grexit'."

"It's now up to Tsipras to show that he is serious about wanting to stay in the eurozone. He has to propose a credible reform and reimbursement package. If he does, European leaders should give him another chance."

The Belgian deputy highlighted that, "Tsipras has won the referendum at home, but lost his credibility in the rest of Europe. He has to understand that money for nothing only exists in songs. He has to show he can do more than merely rejecting the proposals. This week will determine if Tsipras is a leader who offers solutions or a false prophet without any ideas of his own."

"The new reform package should not target the ordinary Greek citizen, but should lay the basis for a fundamental overhaul of the Greek clientelistic society. It should fight the entrenched corruption and radically cut the costs of the government and its immense administration".

Greens/European Free Alliance co-chairs Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts underlined that, "whatever judgement one might have on its circumstances, the result of the referendum has to be respected by all."

"The EU and Greece are facing a deep political crisis and their response will have a major impact on the future of European integration. A majority of Greek citizens want to remain in the euro and it is in the interest of all eurozone countries that this remains the case."

"Both the Greek government and prime minister Tsipras and the leaders of the eurozone have to explain their views on how to make this possible and they have to come back to the negotiating table without further delay."

Gabi Zimmer, chair of parliament's Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left, said, "the cradle of democracy has shown the rest of the EU that democratic will is far stronger than the scaremongering and threats of the ruling elites. The people of Greece now have the dignity they fought for in this game that is totally unworthy of the EU institutions."

She added, "the Greeks have strengthened the position of their government for new negotiations with the creditors. It is time that [German chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French president François] Hollande assume their responsibilities and give primacy to politics and democracy over the rule of neoliberal financial market supporters".

Merkel and Hollande are due to meet Monday night ahead of what will likely be a very tense eurogroup summit on Tuesday, with eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem calling the result of the referendum "very regrettable for the future of Greece. For recovery of the Greek economy, difficult measures and reforms are inevitable".

Despite a landslide victory for the 'no' vote, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned, but insisted that he would "wear the creditors’ loathing with pride".


Read the most recent articles written by Julie Levy-Abegnoli - MEPs vote against beginning negotiations on updating EU copyright laws