LISBON (ANA/ D. Kourkouli) The European Union needs to shift away from dead-end austerity policies, which are shrinking the GDP of most EU member-states and enlarging their debt, while negatively affecting both sustainable growth and social cohesion in the EU, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Monday.
Pavlopoulos made the statement during a meeting with his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest in Europe.
Replying to an ANA question during a joint press conference with de Sousa, Pavlopoulos also referred to the creditors demand that Greece pass legislation for “preventive measures” taking effect in 2019, after the end of the current bailout programme. Such a demand was “unprecedented” in European history, he said, while such pressures were incompatible with European ideals.
According to Greece’s president, the current austerity policies must be replaced by an economic policy that harmoniously combines action to eliminate deficits and wasteful spending and to tackle the debt crisis with achieving sustainable growth.
“This policy must support the necessary reforms and the appropriate investments, as well as a rationally designed boost to liquidity and demand. Such a policies will also support the fundamental gains of European democracy and European culture; in other words, the social state of law,” Pavlopoulos added.
He also noted that the meeting with his Portuguese counterpart was taking place at a time when their countries and the EU as a whole were being tested by a double crisis: the refugee crisis and economic crisis.
“Our countries and our people have suffered – and continue to be subjected to – the repercussions of a specific economic austerity policy, which not only leads nowhere but is also contrary to the principles and values on which the European edifice was founded,” he said. “These are the reasons why Greece and Portugal must work together closely and with determination in order to overcome this crisis that I mentioned as soon as possible and thus defend not only our own countries and people but also our great European family,” Pavlopoulos added.
Regarding the refugee crisis, he noted that this could not be tackled without the immediate and final end of the war in Syria and surrounding regions while noting that the EU must act in accordance with international and European law and “not phobic syndromes.”