Tsipras Addresses EU Parliament: We are Determined Not to Repeat the Mistakes that Led to the Crisis

FILE - Greek Prime minister Alexis Tsipras debates the future of Europe with parliament members and commissioners at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Tuesday Sept.11, 2018. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

STRASBOURG, France – “Greece’s exit from the last fiscal adjustment programme does not mean a return to the past. We are determined not to repeat the mistakes and behaviour that led to the crisis,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday addressing the European Parliament plenary.

He underlined that it is “a new start that consolidates stability and security, heals wounds, gradually rectifies injustices and opens up new growth prospects for our people and our country.”

“In the coming period, we will continue the agreed reforms, emphasising the further rationalisation of state functioning, the modernisation of public administration, the fight against bureaucracy and the deepening of democratic sectors through the forthcoming constitutional revision,” the prime minister reiterated.

“We will continue a balanced fiscal course, while at the same time we will prioritise equitable growth and protection of labour,” Tsipras said, stressing: “Greece and the Greeks have proved in recent years how deeply committed they are to the idea European integration.”

“In a Europe where racism and xenophobia are rampant, Greece has done its best to tackle racism. Although financially crushed, it gave lessons in humanity and resisted the sirens of hate,” he said.

Regarding Greek society’s faith in the European edifice, Tsipras noted that Greeks had show patience and persisted with “the European course of the country, even though Europe itself, or perhaps its dominant expression, has hurt and underestimated the Greek people. Let’s try, therefore, from this eight-year Greek crisis that we are leaving behind us, to draw our conclusions,” the prime minister underlined.

“It is now time to reach conclusions about the kind of Europe we want,” he said, adding that this meant decisions “on how to shield it against possible new crises in the future. The stakes for Europe today are of an existential nature. The management of the economic crisis, the refugee crisis and the security crisis has so far revealed huge shortcomings and contradictions,” he said.

Regarding Turkey, he said that Greece has kept the channels of communication open “despite the problems of instability and nationalist upheaval” in that country, preserving peace in the Aegean, promoting cooperative solutions on the refugee issue, while insisting on a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue, noted the prime minister.

“In the destabilised area of the Eastern Mediterranean, we are, together with Cyprus, the only European pillar of stability. We are expanding our multilateral partnerships with Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan. At the same time, we are deepening Balkan co-operation and co-development, with Thessaloniki as our point of reference,” he said.