'Alternative' Troika of Socialists MEPs Heads for Greece

Bulgaria in EU | March 6, 2012, Tuesday // 13:00|  views

Ivaylo Kalfin, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, is part of the shadow troika of socialist MEPs. Photo by BGNES

A shadow alternate troika, which includes MEPs from the Socialist group in the European Parliament, will be sent to Greece to offer constructive proposals for the solution of the crisis.

Socialists in the European Parliament believe that the austerity measures imposed by the official EU-IMF-ECB troika are not helping the country but are only deepening the recession.

In a bid to remedy the situation, the Party of European Socialists (PES) is sending the three MEPs to Greece to suggest initiatives that will foster economic growth, employment and investments in Greece.

The shadow troika includes Ivaylo Kalfin, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Robert Goebbels, former Finance Minister of Luxemburg and Eliza Fereira, professor of economics and former Minister for Planning and Environment of Portugal.

The three MEPs will visit Athens in the period March 6-8 for an on the spot study.

The members of the shadow troika will meet with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Greece, Evangelos Venizelos and former Prime Minister and PASOK leader George Papandreou.

They will hold talks with MPs, representatives of economic institutions, trade unions and associations, employer organizations and representatives of civil society.

PES nominated the shadow troika because they believe that the austerity measures that are being imposed on Greece by the EC are not helping the country but are rather deepening the recession and the social tensions and are destabilizing the Greek society.

"The EU is trying to make decisions through political measures, which the IMF implements through technical instruments, and to elevate them to a political level," Kalfin said in an interview for Darik radio several days ago.

"The result is that in two years' time Greece reduced its budget expenditures by 20% and if the opening balance sheet is taken into consideration, excluding the interest on the debt the country is paying, it is balanced, there is, practically speaking, no deficit," Bulgaria's MEP stated.

"Pretty tough reforms are being implemented there but what needs to be done is not getting done and it is measures to liven up the economy," Kalfin remarked.

He went on to stress that the Greek economy was shrinking and the recession was expected to deepen even further as a result of the policies implemented by the official troika.

Kalfin insisted that no country could emerge from a crisis without plans for measures for economic development and without public support for the tough reforms.

He said that the "alternative" troika would be working on a program that would ensure that fiscal measures are combined with a much clearer vision about what must be done and what the results must be.

Kalfin emphasized that this would ensure public support and would set out clear-cut measures for restructuring the public sector and the economy which would yield a result.

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Tags: Ivaylo Kalfin, PES, Party of European Socialists, troika, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Commission, austerity measures, Greece debt crisis, bailout


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