'Greek austerity will be equally distributed'
Athens has submitted new proposals for economic reforms to the EU in a bid to secure a further bailout and avoid ejection from the eurozone. Athens is asking for €53.5 billion and debt restructuring in exchange for imposing more austerity measures.
RT:The new proposals include more austerity for Greece. What was last week's referendum about then?
Neni Panourgia: The referendum was not about a Grexit; the referendum was not about exiting from the EU or exiting from the euro. The referendum was a source of reassurance by the government that the Greek people, the Greek public, the Greek electorate would stand by it in its negotiations with the Eurogroup, with the European Parliament and eventually the IMF. So the one does not preclude the other.
RT:What's the difference between Athens' latest proposal and the deal it rejected?
NP: There is great difference. The one that is being proposed right now includes a series of reforms, both in the public sector, but also in the taxing system, in the system of taxation, and in the system of certain and specific privileges to certain sectors. This proposal has actually very little in common with the proposals that have come prior to this. One big example is the fact that the new proposal actually has put forth the taxation of high incomes and other sectors which have been thus far protected both by previous governments and through the previous proposals made by the creditors.
RT:Let’s presume that this is all agreed upon and is all signed by both parties. What happens then with the relationships between Greece and the European ministers, the Troika, the IMF..?
NP: I don’t know what will happen with them, because we don’t know yet how they are going to vote. We have no idea how the Eurogroup will vote, how the European parliament will vote. As I was coming to the studio I heard that the Latvian Prime Minister [Laimdota Straujuma] vowed that he will never pass this agreement through his parliament. So, we have no idea what will happen with them. But what I can tell you is that if the new agreement goes through, if it gets signed, then this government will proceed with a series of reforms that every other government has shied away, actually has run away from, in all previous years. Of course there will be austerity, of course austerity will continue, but it will be an austerity that will be more equally distributed and its weight will be carried throughout the electorate and not simply by those social classes that have carried the brunt of its weight thus far.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.