In a letter sent Thursday to the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission Jaen-Claude Juncker and to chairpersons of Summit in Rome Joseph Muscat and Paolo Gentiloni, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras requesting a clear answer to whether the European social model, especially in terms of labor relations and collective bargaining is valid for all member states without exception, or for all except Greece.
The full letter:
In a few days, in Rome, we will celebrate 60 years from the signing of the founding Treaties of today’s European Union.
In these 60 years, the EU consolidated – on an institutional level – the achievements of its peoples.
Achievements whose goal is to ensure progress, prosperity and peace.
Achievements that aim towards the protection of the fundamental rights of the peoples of Europe, including freedom of expression and movement, as well as the right to employment and social protection.
Unfortunately, though, in the last few years, many of these achievements are threatened despite the fact that they have been consolidated on an institutional level. It is, nevertheless, a matter of democratic choice of the peoples of Europe and the will of their governments, to protect these achievements and broaden them.
In all cases?
Unfortunately not in all cases. This right is constrained in my country.
Greece has been in programs of economic adjustment for the last 7 years, in the name of which a situation of exception from our common European acquis, has been implicitly imposed. Most notably this relates to the exception from the European acquis on social rights and specifically the exception from “best practices” on labour relations and collective bargaining.
The Greek government, for the last two years, is trying to return Greece to the standards of the European social model and to overturn the status of exception in the case of labour relations.
We fully respect the commitments we undertook for the necessary budgetary adjustment and the restructuring of the economy and the labour market which we have followed strictly.
Nevertheless, we cannot understand demands that go beyond these commitments, like the prolongation of the exception of Greece from the European social acquis.
This demand, after all, leads to an unjustified delay of the conclusion of the second review of the Greek economic program, denying from the Greek economy its great potential for recovery, at a crucial moment.
It is evident that the responsibility for defining the policy framework and its institutional boundaries within the EU, does not belong to non-european supranational organizations, but exclusively to European institutions and the intergovernmental bodies of the European Union.
As we move towards the Rome Summit, I assure you that Greece would like to celebrate, together with its partners, this 60 year anniversary and more specifically the great common achievements of our peoples.
For this reason we intend to support the Rome Declaration, a document which moves in a positive direction.
Nevertheless, in order to be able to celebrate these achievements, it has to be made clear, on an official level, whether they apply also to Greece. Whether, in other words, the European acquis is valid for all member states without exception, or for all except Greece.
Therefore I ask for your support in order to protect, together, the right of Greece to return to the standards of the European social model./IBNA