On 7 January the Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL) of the European Parliament started a hearing regarding the consequences of Troika policies on the Member States affected by the bailout (Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus).
This Committee has drafted a report that voices concerns about the negative social implications on the populations of these countries, especially the most vulnerable. Social benefits, wages and health expenditure among other things have been drastically reduced since the crisis began back in 2008. In addition to this, some other macroeconomic indicators, such as unemployment rates and public debt, still seem to pose problems which are far from being resolved.
The EU Parliament, the only European institution that is directly elected by us Europeans, has been kept out of the Troika negotiation process (consisting of the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank) and the bailed out countries.One of the calls made by the EMPL is for the process to be more transparent and democratic.
Some of the questions raised by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) intend to shed light on the real bargaining power that the affected Member States had when negotiating with the Troika and whether or not it was known what the implications of policy change on the welfare states of these countries would be.
However, in his answer to the Committee, Mr. Olli Rehn, who is the member of Commission responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs, states that despite reforms having been painful, they were less evil than the collapse of the system. He also confirms the long repeated sentence of “solidarity for stability” that intends to legitimise the cuts to social spending. Again, Greece is given as an example on how more reforms in the health sector are needed in order to obtain “more cost-effective health care”.
EPHA supports the EU Parliament and its Committee in finding out more about the situation since Greece was first bailed out three years ago. EPHA will work with members of the Employment and Social Affairs and Economic Affairs Committees to include a health dimension in both reports. The consequences of decisions taken behind closed doors still affects the lives of millions of Europeans and we claim that it is good for the future of Europe and for democracy that we seek to understand what has happened and how we can prevent it from happening again.
To know more:
1) Solidar newsletter “European Parliament drafts a report about the work of the troika in Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus”(Accessed Online on the 20th January 2014)
2) Draft Report (2013/2277(INI) (Accessed Online on the 20th January 2014):
EPHA related articles