Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2015-07-08-Speech-3-048-000"

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"Mr President, what we are seeing in this Chamber this morning, and indeed across the whole of Europe, is an irreconcilable cultural difference between Greece and Germany: a split between the north and the south of Europe. Europe, the European project, is actually beginning to die. Nobody in this room will recognise that, but actually the peoples of Europe are saying, ‘We were never asked whether we wanted this: this has been foisted upon us.’ And we need to understand why economic and monetary union does not work. Those monsters Kohl and Mitterrand, backed by a clever but dangerous Delors, believed that if they put in place an economic and monetary union, then, as night follows day, there would be political union. They believed there would be acceptance of this project; that the North and South of Europe would converge; that we would all start to love each other; that we would all begin to feel a European identity; that we would all begin to show allegiance to the flag and the anthem. Those of us, of course, who criticised this were told that we were extremists and we lacked vision. Well, in one respect we did not lack vision: we understood that the countries of Europe are different, and that if you try to force together different people or different economies, without first seeking the consent of those people, it is unlikely to work, and the plan has failed. This is not just Greece we are talking about today: the whole of the Mediterranean now finds itself in the wrong currency, and yet virtually nobody in the political arena has got the courage to stand up and say that. I feel that the continent is now divided from north to south: there is a new Berlin Wall and it is called ‘the euro’. The old enmities have been resumed. Just listen to the way that the German leader of the Christian Democrat group this morning attacked Mr Tsipras. I think it was absolutely disgusting, but it shows the way north and south now feel about each other. Mr Tsipras, your country should never have joined the euro – I think you acknowledge that – but the big banks, the big businesses and big politics forced you in. Goldman Sachs, the German arms manufacturers, they were all very happy. And when the bailouts began, they were not for the Greek people. Those bailouts were to bail out French, German and Italian banks: they have not helped you at all. These years of austerity, these years of high unemployment, of increasing poverty: none of it has worked. In fact, your debt-to-GDP ratio has gone from 100% at the start of the crisis to 180% right now. It would be madness to continue on this course. You have been very brave. You called that referendum, although when one of your predecessors tried to do the same, the bully boys of Brussels had him removed. They tried their best again – Mr Juncker said you would have to leave the euro and the European Union. Even Mr Schulz, the President of Parliament, who one would have thought might be neutral, said that if the Greeks voted no, their power supplies might even go down. There were threats and bullying, but the Greeks stood firm. However, sir, you cannot have your cake and eat it. They will give you no more, these people: they cannot afford to. If they give you more, they will have to give other eurozone members more. So your moment has come. And frankly, if you have got the courage, you should lead the Greek people out of the eurozone with your head held high: get back your democracy, get back control of your country, give your people the leadership and the hope that they crave. Yes, it will be tough for the first few months, but with a devalued currency, and with friends of Greece all over the world, you will recover."@en1

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