Tsipras Letter to European Leaders

Tsipras Letter to European Leaders


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:

Dear President,

Dear Donald,

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