'Win-win' versus 'no winners'
(CS/CBu) While Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel called the Greece bailout deal a “win-win situation” in parliament on Tuesday, coalition partner déi Gréng countered by saying “there are no winners.”
The debate on the debt deal struck at a special EU summit over the weekend showed cracks between the government parties on its approach to the Greek bailout deal.
“The agreement has the potential of a win-win situation,” said the Prime Minister, saying that negotiations had been long and tough. “An exit of Greece from the eurozone is no longer on the agenda,” he concluded, saying a compromise in the interest of all eurozone members had been reached. “Europe is strong when it matters,” Bettel commented.
In line with comments made to the Luxembourg press on Monday, the PM said that aid was connected to specific conditions within a realistic time frame, once again repeating that not only Germany had been for a strict approach.
The EU was committed to ensuring that a long-term solution to Greece's problems would emerge from the debt deal. The next steps of the Greek government and parliament could serve to rebuild trust between the partners, he added, saying that this would benefit all partners.
Bettel also clarified that the new agreement represented no additional costs for Luxembourg, with funds for Greece sourced from the European Stability Mechanism. The Grand Duchy paid its contribution to the ESM in 2012.
In the debate following the Prime Minister's remarks, head of the CSV's faction in parliament Claude Wiseler largely shared Bettel's views, saying Greece was to blame for wasting time unnecessarily. An agreement could have been reached earlier, he said, for example by avoiding the referendum, which only added to the dissatisfaction of the Greek people with the overall situation, according to the MP.
Alex Bodry, speaking on behalf of the LSAP, said that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza party had become a victim of their untenable election promises.
However, Bodry was also more critical of the bailout deal, saying the danger of a Grexit had been avoided temporarily, but that “great political and economic risks remain.” Additionally, the negotiations had shown friction among the EU partners, with Bodry saying that none of the partners could be truly satisfied with the agreement.
Déi Gréng's Viviane Loschetter went one step further. Instead of speaking of a “win-win situation”, the MP said that “there are no winners.”
Loschetter added that Greece's problems had not been solved but only delayed. Over the course of the weekend summit many citizens in the EU lost their hope and trust in the institutions, she commented.
The Prime Minister's party, the DP, meanwhile was more optimistic, praising Bettel and Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna for their commitment to reaching a deal with Greece.
Speaker Eugène Berger said that there was no way past structural reform. At the outcome of the austerity measures, Greece should hopefully be able to boost its economy once again, he explained.
The ADR's Fernand Kartheiser meanwhile slammed the Prime Minister for embellishing the situation, saying a clear and realistic view of the situation in Greece was needed. “How much more suffering can we expect of the Greece people,” he asked.
Kartheiser also brought up the possibility of a temporary Grexit, a position mulled over by Germany during the negotiations.
For Serge Urbany of déi Lénk meanwhile the agreement was a dramatic development, with EU partners pushing Greece into a corner. The deal goes against economic logic and political responsibility, he said, taking the country through more austerity and towards a looming humanitarian crisis.
Greek sovereignty had been compromised, he said, with the country now a “Brussels protectorate”, according to the MP. Urbany urged a rethinking of the strategy, “because people will not accept this kind of policy-making for much longer.”
The disunity of the Luxembourg parliament and also parties represented in the Luxembourg government had previously emerged on Twitter, where ministers and MPs voiced different opinions as negotiations progressed.
While some called for more solidarity with Greece others advocated a hard-line approach. However, Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna at the time commented that there was no disagreement within the government on how to proceed.