Katrougalos on Rome Declaration: It could develop a dynamic in favour of social Europe

The Rome Declaration signed by 27 leaders of the European Union on Saturday in Rome on the anniversary of the bloc’s establishment 60 years ago is a text that could develop a dynamic in favour of social Europe, Alternate Foreign Minister George Katrougalos said in an interview to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Sunday, a few hours after the summit meeting.

“Considering the conditions and the known delays and contradictions that exist in the EU, I do not think there was a chance for something better. I believe that the Declaration is a text that can develop a dynamic in favour of social Europe, if there are the necessary conditions, such as the development of social movements in each country and the political understanding between those who want to deepen social Europe,” he said.

Commenting on European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s reaction to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ letter on preserving the European acquis on labour rights, the minister said many officials agreed with the points made.

“It’s not just President [Jean-Claude] Juncker’s reply. We’ve had very good supporting statements of not just Greek positions but of the European social acquis from many important European officials”, he said.

“Both President Juncker and Italian Prime Minister Paolo] Gentiloni, as well as the President of the European Council [Donald] Tusk today, confirmed Greece’s full accession to the European social acquis, which I think creates the necessary momentum, so that Greek positions can prevail on the major issue of collective bargaining in the second review.”

Asked if these positions will influence the institutions and contribute to the completion of the second review, he said: “Unquestionably yes. Our strategy is not fragmented. The reason why the second review has not been completed is the coercive and inconsistent attitude or the IMF. Not only is it the bearer of extreme neoliberal and anti-European positions, but until recently it didn’t seem to have decided whether to remain in the program. Furthermore, it questioned unfounded data which everyone else at the table accepted, not just the Greek side, but also the Europeans. I think that with today’s statements, the Europeans are sending a signal to the IMF that neither Greece nor Europe can be hostages of a non-European institution and that whatever solution might emerge for the Greek issue should be a European solution.”

Asked if Greece is close to securing an agreement on the second review, Katrougalos said: “a positive dynamic is being developed” for the closure of the deal, with “an honest compromise” that would not exclude Greece from the European social model.

Hellenic Republic Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorge KatrougalosRome (Italy)
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