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Renata Dourou: “Greece Was A Guinea Pig, Today We Have Proof”

Translated Friday 29 June 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Whereas the European summit is opening in Brussels, which is calling for another federalist turn of the screw, Renata Dourou, a deputy for Syriza, which on June 17 became the second-largest party in the Hellenic Parliament, is calling on the peoples of the countries of the South to react in unison.

Must the budget treaty be rejected?

Renata Dourou: At all costs, because its enforcement means slow death for the whole population. We Greeks know what we’re talking about. The recession keeps deepening and the economy is now at practically minus 7% of GDP. The recession’s hitting us for the fifth consecutive year. The budget treaty means austerity for life, through the institutionalization of the famous golden rule, which requires balanced budgets even if that implies, as in Greece, the enforcement of domestic devaluation, which has a catastrophic effect on growth. Hundreds of thousands of SMEs have closed, unemployment’s growing, and more and more people are committing suicide because of the economic crisis. Greece hasn’t been described as the “guinea pig” for Europe for nothing. At first, the “Greek problem” was presented as resulting from specific conditions or from the character of the Greeks, who were portrayed as “lazy” or “corrupt.” The generalization of the crisis in the heart of the euro zone (Spain, Italy and France) shows that not even Germany is safe. The adoption of its model of “social dumping” just leads to dead ends. Greece is the tragic proof of this.

Is the European stability mechanism a good instrument?

Renata Dourou: It alone cannot solve the problem and must therefore form part of an “arsenal” of means including euro-bonds; the stability of the banking sector, which has to be a driving force in the economy; a significant growth package; and, of course, a change in the role of the European Central Bank. It has to be possible for the ECB to lend at very low, and even zero interest rates, to governments, as it does to the banks today.

Is there a need for a front of the peoples of Southern Europe?

Renata Dourou: We must resist. The European peoples must make their discordant voices heard in this neo-con concert, in opposition to this austerity regime that they want to impose on us and which will benefit the markets and the banks. The countries of the South must react jointly. For us, in Syriza, any front of countries has to be based on a concept radically different from the policy proposed and imposed by Berlin, on a break with past policy. We risk seeing the European Union come apart when it is necessary to restart it by emphasizing growth, the role of the European Central Bank, the fight against unemployment, etc. Maybe we need to link up again with the spirit of the Founding Fathers: against nationalism, poverty, and war, because there must be no illusions: today, we’re experiencing a war, the war of the 1% against the 99%. The fact that this is an economic war does not mean that it’s any less destructive. We, in Greece, with five years of deep recession, we’re experiencing this!

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