On behalf of the Central Committee of AKEL I greet the 2nd Congress of SYRIZA.
Your Congress is taking place at a time when the people of Cyprus and Greece are still suffering from the dramatic consequences of the global capitalist crisis, but also from the policies being imposed by any means by the Brussels directorate in cooperation with its representatives in each country. Cyprus and Greece experienced firsthand their shameful blackmails, threats and the EU’s devastating decisions. This is the case, while other member states have for years been violating the financial rules without any negative consequences.
Cyprus, following the decisions agreed between the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the Anastasiades government in March 2013, suffered the haircut on bank deposits and a Memorandum of vicious austerity, privatizations and auctions. The result is that Cyprus has the worst record across the EU with regards the increase in income inequality and non-performing loans. AKEL and the entire People’s Movement of the Left of Cyprus are resisting these policies with all their strength, both inside and outside Parliament.
At the same time, AKEL is focused on the anti-occupation struggle of the Cypriot people for the liberation and reunification of our island, for the transformation of the Republic of Cyprus into a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation. Democratic Greece and its people have been providing long-standing and valuable support to this struggle.
We are currently in the midst of a critical phase of the negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot community on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem, which if they arrive at a positive result, will pave the way so that the occupying power, namely Turkey, will at last be made to face up to its responsibilities. Turkey must take important policy decisions and accept that it cannot have any sovereignty rights over our island, must withdraw its troops, terminate its rights of intervention and leave the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to live free and together in their common homeland.
AKEL insists that the solution of the Cyprus problem must liberate us from the occupation and from any rights of intervention in the internal affairs of our country. The solidarity of the Greek Government, political parties and people is very persistent and valuable.
We know that Greece and its people are facing enormous difficulties, adversities and challenges. Everything that the people and workers of Greece, as well as of Cyprus and so many other EU countries are going through, is linked directly to the deadlocks and contradictions of the European Union itself. The socio-economic character of the European Union itself, together with the policies being dogmatically imposed by the dominant political forces are increasing poverty, unemployment and inequality to explosive levels.
Furthermore, these dominant political forces are building up and strengthening the European Union’s militarization and interventionism all over the world, deepening its dangerous pairing and coupling with NATO and sharpening the deadlock policy of tension with Russia.
The most visible failure of the European Union is none other than the refugee question. Instead of all the EU member states opening their borders and societies to receive refugees with solidarity and humanism, the responsibility was restricted to just a few Member States, such as Greece. The European Union continued to reinforce “Fortress Europe” with coastguards, border guards, military operations, walls and electric fences. At the same time, the monster of neo-fascism and extreme right is again knocking on Europe’s door.
Meanwhile while all this is taking place, the leaders of the European Union are not only not thinking about changing course, but instead they are insisting on pursuing the same strategy.
For AKEL and the Left, the answer to all of these issues cannot be found neither in the dominant political force’s obedient and submissive perception of the EU, nor in extreme right-wing Euroscepticism. The answers are to be found in the class organization of the working people, the joint action of the European progressive forces and in the struggles of the Left for the rights of working people and youth; for social solidarity, democracy and peace and in the struggle for a different path of economic and social development for the peoples of Europe.
With these thoughts in mind, we greet the deliberations of your Congress and hope the results will contribute to a better future for the people of Greece.