13th March 2014: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Andrew Brons made the following contribution, under the Catch the Eye procedure, to a debate on the activities of the Troika** with regard to problematic Eurozone countries.
"Mr Cercas's report explains succinctly the formula being applied to the countries* investigated: wage freezes and cuts, as well as cuts in welfare spending, part-time and temporary work and involuntary emigration
"It then leaps to three laudable objectives: increased employment, reduction of those in poverty; and a reduction in school drop-out figures.
"It, quite rightly, calls for an end to austerity. You do not make people richer or reduce their indebtedness, by making them poorer
"However, its other recommendations lack substance or definition and amount to a prayer for things to improve.
"It shies away from the root cause: the fact that the Euro's value is too high for their economies. Only a withdrawal from the Eurozone and a reintroduction of their national currencies, which will fall in value, will allow them to enjoy export-led expansions.
"The austerity programmes were designed to save the Eurozone. They were not designed to help the four countries* concerned."
* Mr Cercas's report restricted its investigation to four countries that had been on the receiving end of austerity programmes: Greece; Ireland; Portugal; and Cyprus.
** The Troika is the name given to the European Central Bank, the Commission and the International Monetary Fund when they act collectively.