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Alternate Foreign Minister G. Katrougalos' speech on the 60th anniversary of the European Union

Tuesday, 09 May 2017

The celebration of Europe Day coincides with another great moment for our Continent: the peoples' victory over fascism. Above all, the noble vision of a United Europe reflected Europeans' dread of seeing war or fascism every again on our Continent, Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos stressed in addressing a special event – held at the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Foundation and organized by the Foreign Ministry and the Representation of the European Commission in Greece – marking Europe Day and the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treat of Rome.

Today, 60 years later, we are truly in the midst of the longest period of peace in Europe, despite the tragic lapse following the break-up of Yugoslavia, Mr. Katrougalos said, adding that, although the womb that gave birth to the serpent's egg is still fertile, democratic governments, rather that dictatorships, govern the countries of Europe.

Nevertheless, Europe is currently facing an existential moment and an intense crisis of legitimacy. We are the first generation of Europeans, Mr. Katrougalos stated, to fear that our children's lives will be worse than our own. This crisis derives from the neo-liberal austerity policies that are eroding the European Social Model and fuelling inequality within and between states.

To reverse this situation, we need to reverse these failed policies so that Europe can once again find its soul. Austerity without growth creates insurmountable impasses, the Alternate Foreign Minister noted. The debate on the future of Europe is already under way. The European Union should emerge stronger from the whole process, and in particular with its social and democratic dimensions enhanced. In this context, Mr. Katrougalos referred indicatively to the full Europeanization of the ESM as a European Monetary Fund and to promotion of accountability mechanisms for the ESM and the Eurogroup in the European Parliament, and he welcomed the European Commission proposal for a new pillar of social rights, while stressing that the proposal in question must be made more ambitious.