Bailout terms for Athens ‘declare war’ on Greek workers, say campaigners
Requirements attached to Greece’s latest bailout package are “extreme” free market fundamentalism designed to punish ordinary Greek people, a leading social justice campaign has said.
After all-night negotiations in Athens, the European Commission (EC) came to an agreement with Greek representatives on Tuesday to provide Greece with an €85 billion (£95 billion) rescue loan.
UK campaign group Global Justice Now slammed the deal as an excuse for imposing radical economic restructuring on Greece, including privatization and deregulation measures.
The group’s director, Nick Dearden, said it was one of the most radical examples of neoliberal reforms being forced on a country that the organization had ever seen.
“This package amounts to some of the most extreme ‘free market’ fundamentalism we’ve ever witnessed – even by the standards of the International Monetary Fund programs imposed on Africa, Asia and Latin America in the 1980s,” he told RT on Wednesday.
“In short, it says that Greece is up for sale, and its workers, farmers and small businesses will have to be cleared out of the way.”
The last-minute agreement on a rescue package was reached just a week before Greece is obligated to make a €3 bn ($3.35 bn) payment on its debt to the European Central Bank (ECB).
Dearden said the debts “that matter to European elites” had already been repaid by Greece, suggesting this latest bailout package was intended to discipline Greek society.
He added that the radical measures to restructure Greece’s economy, through privatization of public infrastructure and deregulation, effectively “declares war” on Greek workers, small businesses, unions and farmers.
“No doubt Greece’s economy needs reform. That’s what Syriza was elected to undertake,” Dearden said.
“But what is being imposed is the establishment and micromanagement of radical ‘free market’ economics, far more extreme than exist in many of Greece’s ‘creditor’ countries. This is not a solution to Greece’s debt crisis, but a solution to the profits of European capital.”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called an emergency parliamentary session on Tuesday to vote on the package.
“The crucial nature of the situation requires the immediate convening of parliament to proceed with the deal’s approval and allow disbursement of the first instalment,” Tsipras said in a letter to the President of the Hellenic Parliament.
The PM hopes a draft bill will be ratified by Parliament on Thursday in time for approval by the eurozone finance ministers on Friday.
Tsipiras has been accused of abandoning his principles in agreeing to the deal.
“Left-wing governments should take left-wing actions,” said Costas Lapavitsas, a leading member of a bloc of dissident Syriza MPs.