In Brussels, SYRIZA leader Tsipras calls for left cooperation to deal with crisis

28 September 2012

In Brussels, SYRIZA leader Tsipras calls for left cooperation to deal with crisis

Today, SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong met with SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and representatives of other left parties in Europe for talks on the Eurocrisis. Tsipras called on modern left parties from across Europe to organise a new European social movement to increase solidarity between left forces in Europe and develop approaches to the right’s crisis. De Jong supported the call from Tsipras: ‘Employers are extremely well-organised in Europe with all of their lobbies, but as a result of their fragmentation, social movements are able to reach Brussels far too seldom,’ he said. ‘Because of this we are allowing ourselves to work against each other and neoliberalism makes the most of this and carries on regardless, despite all the national protests.’

Alexis Tsipras
Alexis Tsipras speaking at the European Parliament – photo by Olivier Hansen NGL/GUE

‘Right-wing politicians are trying to resolve the crisis with the measures which caused it,’ said Alexis Tsipras. ‘They are also keeping bankers out of the line of fire and putting working people in Greece, for example, in the position of scapegoat.’ On the question of how Greece can escape the crisis, there are large areas of agreement between the SP and SYRIZA, De Jong concluded. ‘Greece’s debts are unsustainable, they are having to be repeatedly reorganised. In addition, Tsipras also stated that it the highest priority was the fight against corruption and that tax evasion by rich Greeks and big corporations must stop. The focus must be taken off the austerity agenda and the Greek economy must be reformed, which means investment in, for example, solar energy.’

During the meeting discussions were also held on the need for a militant trade union movement. ‘I see similarities here also between the Netherlands and Greece, Ordinary workers are militant, but we are still waiting for forceful initiative from the European trade union movement to turn EU policy around,’ said De Jong. Early next year in the European Parliament,Dennnis de Jong will bring together a number of groups who are working to combat poverty, including the solidarity movement Emmaüs, the Salvation Army and the European Anti-Poverty Network. ‘We have to improve contacts with working people in Europe and in that way build a social movement from below which can offer a counterweight to the corporate lobby,’ said De Jong. ‘A Dutch bus driver whose job is cut has much more in common with a bus driver in Athens than he has with his manager who’s getting a bonus. That’s why organising international solidarity is so important in times of crisis. The enemy is not made up of lazy Greeks but of greedy executives and bankers.’

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