Debt crisis shouldn’t be an excuse to hand more powers to Europe

21 July 2011

Debt crisis shouldn’t be an excuse to hand more powers to Europe

SP Member of Parliament Ewout Irrgang has strongly criticised the European approach to the debt crisis in Greece. ‘More money to Greece, with a minimal contribution from the banks,’ he says. ‘This money will help only the banks, not the Greeks and not the Dutch taxpayer.’

Ewout IrrgangIrrgang also warns about the transfer of still more national responsibilities to Brussels. “Europhile parties such as the Green Left and centrist D66 seem to want to seize on this crisis to make their dream of a European superstate come true. The problems in Greece are a direct result of overly rapid European unification. European Monetary Union (EMU) has driven countries further apart, rather than bringing them closer together. You won’t resolve that by handing more powers to Europe, any more than you can cure alcoholism by providing more whisky.”

The SP would want to see tough conditions met before it could support a new loan to Greece. Massive Greek debt would need to be restructured, as Irrgang explains. “Slowly but surely we are being proved ever more correct. Unless a proportion of the debt is annulled, every additional euro paid to Greece will represent a subsidy to European banks.”
Restructuring the debt would mean that the banks would shoulder their own losses. “The banks have knowingly invested billions in Greece and thus taken on huge risks,” says Irrgang. “The Dutch government goes on and on about a contribution from the banks, but isn’t prepared to make this obligatory or to make it clear how it would work. Finance Minister Jan Kees De Jager talks in terms of a ‘menu’, but doesn’t say what should be on this menu, what dishes the banks will have to choose from. I certainly wouldn’t want to eat in such a restaurant.“

Failure to restructure the Greek debt means that the SP cannot vote in favour of paying out more money to Greece, Irrgang says. “This is as unsatisfactory as it is unclear. The parties voting in favour have given the Dutch government a blank cheque which they’ll be able to whip out of their wallet in Brussels.”

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