By Eleni Vougioukalou, President of the People’s Open University of Crete, MEP candidate with “Greek European Citizens – George Hatzimarkakis Initiative”.
The European Union has faced many challenges to the present day. The only times it has emerged more powerful was when it made great compromises that served the unity and solidarity in Europe.
This was the attitude that was served by the major European leaders of the past.
Today the political leadership in Europe forgets these consignments.
The European elections in May are not a wasted, nor a relaxed vote. It is a critical selection by the Citizens of the path that Europe will follow.
More specifically, in regard to the future of our country in the new Europe we envision, the Europe of its Citizens, as “Greek European Citizens – George Hatzimarkakis Initiative” we say:
The Greek problem is common for all Europe and should be addressed as such.
There is no other policy option beyond the termination of austerity in order to stop the shrinkage of the economy, the unemployment and the social misery of our country.
All decisions should be adopted hereafter by the European Parliament. After the elections, to begin the immediate overhaul of the European treaty, which will establish the audit and decisive role of the European Parliament.
Troika’s operation in Greece yielded catastrophic results. The intergovernmental management of the issue has failed. The influence of the powerful member-states as it stands today, with the lenders imposing unsustainable conditions, is leading nowhere. This is a clear game of political blackmail against Greece.
We need a European Monetary Fund that will function with the unity of the EU in mind and will be under the control of the European Parliament. A fund, which with specific rules will undertake the rescue without the intervention of the governments of the Member – States that currently impose conditions of high interest rates and increased profit .
We need a sustainable solution to the debt crisis. This requires a selective “haircut”, so as not to affect the citizens’ deposits as it happened in Cyprus, in addition to the introduction of a development Eurobond designed to support entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation for the Member States of the eurozone.
Today there is an EU budget that corresponds to 1% (about 900 billion) and is given for projects to the Member States. There must be established an EU budget that will correspond to 5% of the European revenues, and will have clear developmental orientations, with priority given to countries affected by the crisis .
The European Central Bank could change the high interest rates and only support the bonds that finance the stimulus of growth. Europe’s banks must be more motivated by the ECB to increase their lending to small businesses for the creation of new jobs.
Guarantees should be given for the employment of young people through a bond exclusively for combating youth unemployment. The youth bond should have targeted measures for each category of unemployed young people, offering analogous opportunities. There is also a need to remove any obstacles hindering the development of new and healthy youth entrepreneurship by eliminating bureaucracy, offering full digitization of all processes of a small company (digital books, digital transactions, and payments to Tax collecting institutions with an invoice as a percentage of the fee).
Effective enforcement of single market rules – in the occasions where Member States violate the limitations in exports. We propose to apply the logic of the Local Economic Cycle by Region. If, that is, there are insufficient products in one area, then it is obvious that the introduction of this product with a lower price will result in the destruction of local production and loss of jobs and income in the local market. In this case the imported product should be taxed. For example, orange juice imported from Germany is much cheaper than the one produced in Greece, even in areas that produce this product. In addition, our country should utilize every primary resource and export not raw materials of high value, but finished products .
The creation of a European Bank for SMEs can help create millions of new jobs. Europe must break out of the vicious cycle of austerity and loss of existing jobs.
We want the abolition of the Dublin II treaty replaced by a common refugee policy, which respects the European humanitarian values. The Greek borders are EU borders and as such must be guarded with the responsibility of the EU. There must be a proportionate distribution of refugees within the Union, based on their wishes, but also in such a way that each country hosts a specific number based on its infrastructures and capabilities in order to offer decent living conditions.
In order to have a real possibility of a recovery there is the need to extend the repayment of the debt to 50 years, as it happened in post-war Germany, which repaid its loans in 2012, a selective “haircut” of the debt and the reduction of the artificially high interest rates to virtually zero levels. In any case the debt should be the subject of investigation under the light of both the international law and the Greek Justice.
Development and funding of solidarity with a new plan for Greece and other affected European countries. It’s therefore time for a new plan for development called “Project Hercules”.
It should be primarily used to create sustainable jobs in all member states, in order to foster innovation, new technologies and the creation of new jobs.
After the European elections the public debate should focus on the development and bridging of the gap between North and South. We need to clarify exactly which policies have a European dimension. We need a new historic compromise between North and South that will change the course of Europe. A Federal Europe can not threaten any country with an exit from the common currency. In the U.S. for example, when California went bankrupt three times under Schwarzenegger’s governorship, nobody thought to demand that they exit from the dollar. Within such a perspective, what should be strengthened is the decentralization of policies to a regional and local level.
For all the above and so much more in these elections let us show our maturity and let us send in the European Parliament those who have excelled, whose excellence can be judged by their effectiveness so far.
In euro-Parliament we must send people who have excellent at all levels: in experience, in knowledge, in good connections, in excellent public relations and ultimately in effectiveness.
Let us finally end the laymen, the unemployed, hardcore party members, the “tourists” in the EU. Let us vote “Greek European Citizens – George Hatzimarkakis Initiative”.
Let us send George Hatzimarkakis in European Parliament; A person who has proven that he both knows and can work for Greece and the Europe of Citizens. For the Greece and the Europe that we deserve!