Greece and getting growth back into Europe’s sickly economy were the top topics in Brussels, as MEPs marked Europe Day – the EU’s annual tribute to peace and unity on the continent. For many of the European parliament’s leaders the political uncertainty in Athens remains a worry.
‘‘What I would say to the Greek people is I realise what you are going through is difficult but I think to stay in the European Union, to benefit from solidarity, is much better than to leave the EU,’‘ Joseph Daul, the leader of the European People’s Party group, said.
The Parliament’s president Martin Schulz told euronews major steps had been made to controlling the bloc’s debts, but admitted more needed to be done about unemployment, particular for young people.
“We’ve agreed we need budget discipline – that’s good! It’s also a question of fairness between generations: I don’t want my kids and their kids to finance my lifestyle! It’s not acceptable that in some EU countries there is 50 percent youth unemployment!” he said.
The European Parliament’s Liberal leader Guy Verhofstadt, however, was far more critical of Europe’s current political leadership.
“Until now what we have seen is a weak European leadership only taking half measures but no real structural solutions. And the only good structural solutions we need is what I call a redemption fund, a mutualisation of the debt. And then also put more attention to growth.”
Europe Day commemorates the moment in 1950 when French foreign minister Robert Schuman formally began what is now the Europe Union.