Greek Tourism Minister Pavlos Yeroulanos believes that the EU is responsible for Greece’s current economic situation. “People should remember that European institutions have been monitoring the Greek economy since 2004… What happened between 2004 and 2009? Either the EU was not doing its job correctly, or it knew what the situation was and hid it,” Yeroulanos said on Tuesday.
Yeroulanos’ comments come as fears grow over whether the recent supplementary €130bn bailout package (dubbed “the world’s most expensive sticking plaster”, by Guardian Economics editor Larry Elliott) afforded to Greece will be able to alleviate Greek financial woes. Yeroulanos believes the bailout was drawn up according to the EU’s primary short-term needs, not the long-term needs of the country as a whole.
Yeroulanos was, however, quick to qualify his remarks by saying that his criticisms of the EU applied to the institution in its current form, and asserted his belief that greater integration and cooperation between member states were key to rectifying the dismal situation currently being endured by many countries within the eurozone – “in order to have a strong euro,” Yeroulanos stated, “European economies need to work together…if we want a strong European Union, it needs to be able to monitor economies and see what the dangers are.”
Yeroulanos also firmly ruled out the recently touted option, popular amongst the Greek population, of secession from the eurozone and currency devaluation, saying that Greece’s focus should be on “creating jobs and creating growth”, and attracting foreign investment, reminding citizens that “the markets are looking as to whether we are committed to the eurozone or not”.