Athens, September 10, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
Jean-Claude Juncker made a reference to the Greek issue in his speech before the EP in Strasbourg, which had as its central theme the refugee problem.
“What must be done is what has been agreed with Greece”, he said and added: “If this time, common rules are not be respected, then the response of the EU and the eurozone will be different”.
On the negotiations that took place during that time, the Commission President referred to the negative comments he faced on the way he handled the Greek issue:
“Often the Commission attacked by other member states on how it became involved in the solution – even if there is still no solution – of the Greek problem.
I tried to explain to the then Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that in the eurozone there are 19 democracies not only the Greek one.
But I say that the duty of the Commission is to ensure the public interest. To not get involved with the Greek problem would be an unacceptable mistake and weakness.
We paid for that, and I personally paid quite a heavy prive, but I did not want to leave everything in the hands of technocrats; a great deal of work was needed even during the vacation period.
For someone to say that the European Commission and its president believe that a Grexit is not an option – although it may happen – but for us it is not a choice, otherwise it would have already been done.
I told A. Tsipras that I am not a magician or a trickster who takes rabbits from his hat. No.
He knew that the Grexit was a possibility, but one that would not be stated publicly and on this we did what he had to do.
I believe that the Greek problem is not only a matter of budgetary consolidation of the country, it’s not just a structural one – although all these are important – but also a problem that concerns the development prospects of the country.
I did not like the comments in Europe that were saying “It’s only a matter of Greece exiting the euro”, as if it is not a serious country.
The Greeks, and more importantly those of low income, work hard and do everything they can to see their country go forward. So we have to respect them more.
I would like the programme we agreed on to be respected by any Greek government.
If this time, common rules are not be respected, then the response of the EU and the eurozone will be different. What must be done is what has been agreed”.