The comment comes as the newly-elected French president, Francois Hollande, and the winning parties in the Greek parliamentary polls’ opposition to harsh austerity measures has triggered questions about the future direction of the EU monetary policies.
Press TV has talked to Shahrar Ali with the UK Green Party to further discuss the issue. The program also offers the opinions of two additional guests, Panos Trigazis, from the SYRIZA Central Party Committee and Ian Williams, senior analyst of the Foreign Policy in Focus.
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Dr. Ali, the fact that Francois Hollande has also been elected in France and he has been also voicing opposition to the austerity drive and the winning Greek parties voicing their opposition, does this mean however that the austerity drive is going to stop on its tracks?
Ali: Well, this is a very interesting time in European and indeed international politics, clearly [German Chancellor, Angela] Merkel is feeling the heat and she is under pressure now to back the memoranda which [has] already been approved and signed off in Greece.
But we have to bear in mind that the memoranda do not enjoy democratic legitimacy really or popularity within Greece and there is a good reason for this, and in this regard, Francois Hollande can play a crucial role as a catalyst for renegotiation of those memoranda.
Bear in mind that the European Central Bank [ECB] and the International Monetary Fund [IMF] are not elected apparatchiks or officials but they are actually running the show here. We are actually helping to prop up a fundamentally unsustainable economic system and so Hollande can actually play a key role here in helping to reframe the economic policies of the Euro zone and what the Greeks may ask is worse.
What is so good about staying in the Euro zone for them in the long term? They need to gain control of their own destiny, I think in this regard, and so it looks like they are going to be entering to yet another election in June because they want to reach a consensus in the coalition.
Press TV: Mr. Ali one point that raised there by our guest in Athens was the measures that other southern European countries, for instance Portugal or Spain may be taking.
Do you think that these countries are going to eventually move toward the policies that these parties or Francois Hollande has? And how is that going to affect Germany’s position and the situation, basically, of the Euro zone?
Ali: Well, you asked the question which hasn’t properly been answered. I do not think there is a way for Greeks to oppose the bailout conditions and yet maintain that they would remain within the Euro zone.
I think clearly there are trading benefits that result from being part of the Euro zone, but there are many applicant countries and many people within Europe who are aspiring to be in the Euro zone, who need to think twice about these benefits.
And I think what we should be moving towards, this is a wake up call if anything that countries aspiring European member states need to be thinking about localizing their economies because only in that way will they have resilience and control over their destinies.
And what, I return to the point, what really is so good about being in the Euro zone? There is a huge democratic deficit; people cannot take ownership over their financial destiny, because these are ultimately being decided by the (European Central Bank) ECB and the (International Monetary Fund) IMF, totally unelected, and the French-German axis.
Now Francois Hollande’s role in this now is going to be crucial and I welcome of course the election of a socialist government within France for the first time in 17 years but we need to make sure that there is not too much emphasis on growth within an economic system which is fundamentally unsustainable.
Basically the Euro zone is actually perpetuating and increasing inequality, a proper socialist government needs to be looking at reducing inequality, not simply through tax and spend but actually through the very fine work of having a sustainable industry we could be rolling out green jobs in clean energy and new energy and education.
I have heard 60,000 jobs in education in France being mentioned, this is obviously a very progressive step, education is the way forward but Greece, I think, needs to obviously get a grip of its situation but I think it is being exacerbated by the noises from Merkel.
I do not think she is helping, I think we need to review and consider what actual EU membership means and that may actually require going forward in the future that people retain far more control over their own currencies.
And then we have the newer countries like Bulgaria and Romania that are in Europe but do not actually enjoy the Euro currency. They might reconsider what the advantages of that might be.