Statement

Europe could be sleepwalking into disaster – Hayes

Speaking in Brussels this week, Dublin MEP Brian Hayes warned that the political consequences of no agreement between Greece and its creditors could be disastrous.

“There is an air of incredulity surrounding current negotiations on an economic rescue package for Greece. An inexperienced Greek government is playing Russian roulette with its own people. Since Syriza came to power growth has stalled, unemployment has begun to rise again and there has been a massive withdrawal of funds form Greek banks. Tax returns have fallen, further undermining government finances.

“Exasperation among the creditors has caused some European leaders to seriously consider the possibility of a Greek default and a Greek exit from the euro. Some Greek politicians are also willing to contemplate this option even though the vast majority of Greek people wish to stay in the euro.

“Just over one hundred years ago, in the summer of 1914, political misjudgements and failures of political leadership meant that Europe sleepwalked into a crisis. Yet again, with the Greek negotiations, Europe could be sleepwalking into disaster.

“A Greek default and exit from the euro would have profoundly negative consequences for Greece and its people. It would also introduce major economic uncertainty into the eurozone and into still fragile international financial markets. No one can predict the economic and political consequences of a failure to find a solution to the current Greek crisis. Solving the immediate crisis is a political imperative.

“The EU has to face up to this enormous dilemma and frankly, it is time for the navel gazing on Greece to stop. Now is a time for leadership from both Greek and European politicians. Agree the outline of a deal and put it to the Greek people by way of referendum if necessary and put it to the European parliament which speaks on behalf of all the people of the European Union.”

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