Pittella: Any Grexit scenario is ‘unacceptable’

Gianni Pittella [Commission]

The Grexit scenario should be seen as unacceptable, as Syriza’s leader Alexis Tsipras has no intention to get Greeks out of the EU, according to Gianni Pittella. He also stated that after the Greek elections, it should be form a progressive government led by all left-wing parties.

Gianni Pittella, who is the chairman of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, spoke to EURACTIV Greece’s Sarantis Michalopoulos, in Strasbourg.

Mr Pittella, do you believe that a Syriza government could provoke instability in the relations between Brussels and Athens? S&D would feel more comfortable with a left-wing or a right-wing New Democracy government?

A hypothetical victory of Syriza would not and should not provoke instability in its relationship with Brussels: Greece is an essential part of the European Union and the eurozone. I do not see any risk of Grexit; besides, there is no such possibility in the treaty. I am confident that Tsipras has no intention whatsoever of pushing Greek people out of the European family, first and foremost, because it is not in the Greek interest. We hope that the outcome of the election will result in the constitution of a progressive government led by all left-wing parties who share our common European values.

German right-wing officials publicly talk about a possible Grexit, while many EU officials entirely reject the idea. As long as the exit from the Eurozone is not provided in the EU treaties, does S&D find possible a Grexit from the EU as a whole, according to the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty?

The treaty is clear; the eurozone membership is irreversible. Any hypothesis of Grexit or Brexit has to be seen as unacceptable. Europe is strong as long as it acts and speaks as one. We, all Europeans, would end up weaker and less effective in the global world if we left the European Union. Does it sound like a slogan? Look at what happened in Paris and the spontaneous reaction of European people. Global problems such as terrorism and economic crisis can be tackled only if we deliver a global answer.

Greek centre-left parties are not united in a front for the upcoming Greek elections. How can the S&D bring all sides around the same table?

The good and the interest of the Greek people are at stake. I am sure that the reasons that pushed us to being and working together will prevail at the end. There is no time left for division, people need concrete measures to reform the State, to boost the economy and to ensure better social justice. These are now the only concrete issues on the table.

Recently, the Greek PM talked in favour of the “fence” in Evros region as a deterrence means for illegal immigrants to enter the EU territory, triggering the strong reaction of Mr Venizelos, who indirectly said that Mr Samaras was trying to lure extreme-right supporters. What is your standpoint on that?

You can raise walls or fences as high as your imagination goes. This will only give the illusion of security. What Europe needs is to make a step forward from the short term approach and set up a comprehensive policy capable of influencing integration policies, repression measures and concrete actions on the external level: from the Middle East to North Africa, from Nigeria to Syria. We need more Europe. Simple messages and provocations can make you appear in a newspaper, but they will never help your people and ensure them a more secure and better life. This is our major goal.

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