Today is a day of celebration for Europe. We celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. And it is useful to remember the achievements of the peoples of Europe and the need to defend them every day.
There is no doubt that today’s Europe is not the one we are dreaming of. It is not the Europe we want. But there is also no doubt that there is no other way than to work hard in order to change it.
Both within and outside the Chamber where the Declaration of 27 on the future of Europe, was signed, we had the opportunity to put the focus on the social acquis of Europe and the need to protect it.
There is a clear reference to the need to strengthen the social character of Europe and this is positive. These references have been missing in the recent years from our texts. We must continue to work on that direction.
It is well known that I have placed an important question at the heart of the debate: If the social acquis is valid and if it is accessible to all the countries of the European Union. Obviously the answer I have received is affirmative, but it remains to be seen whether this is really the case and we will have the chance to see it very soon.
In any case, the affirmative answer of the heads of the institutions of Europe encourages us to take on a battle that concerns both the workers and the people of Greece in general, but also the workers and all peoples of Europe.
I can only point out a contradiction: the Greek government is battling on behalf of the workers of our country without having the support in this battle of the official trade unions in our country. The trade unions in our country, unfortunately, are in the backstreet rather than the front line, as is the case in other European countries. Let me just remind you that in the crucial referendum they were found to defend the need to say yes to a bad deal and not to defend and claim a better one. Of course not all trade unions are moving in this direction.
We are struggling in order to protect the founding values of Europe, protect the social acquis and gain back our credibility – the credibility of politics, the credibility of trade unionism, the credibility of the institutions of the EU.
Finally, I would like to mention the coincidence of today’s festive anniversary with the day of our National Independence, the “Palaegenesia”. Today we celebrate the Greek National Revolution, the struggle for Independence, freedom and social Justice. And today, the struggle for National Sovereignty and Independence is again relevant and It is also relevant within the EU framework.
Journalist question: Mr President, who is the enemy of Europe today?
The first enemy of Europe, the basic one, is neoliberalism, the neoliberal directions we have taken in the recent years. I believe that it is time to rethink and recognize our founding principles and return to these principles. I therefore believe that we can not dream of the future of Europe without focusing on social rights and human dignity. I think it is necessary to re-establish these principles and re-establish the social model.
What is dangerous is the populism of the extreme right, the extremism of the extreme right. And I believe that the majority of European peoples will defend these principles. Of course this is in line with their policies. That is why we must give a new vision to our peoples. It is essential to have a special reference to social Europe and of course it is an open question so we will continue to fight for its achievement.