Greek Community Clinic of Elliniko rejects the European Citizen’s prize awarded by the European Parliament

The centre representatives describe the prize offered by the European institutions as “hypocritical”

20 October 2015 by Fátima Fafatale

Metropolitan Social Community Clinic Elliniko

The self-managed Metropolitan Community clinic of Elliniko rejected the European Citizen’s Prize 2015 awarded by the European Parliament. The same Parliament whose president, the German Social Democrat Martin Schulz, threatened the Greeks with exclusion from the euro zone if they voted ’no’ in the referendum, gave recognition to the centre, which supports patients who have lost free health care coverage, a prize that its members rejected, saying that “For us it would be utterly hypocritical, to receive such a prize when Europe pretends not to see the undernourished babies, the uninsured cancer patients that end up dead, the stories of famished families, the people that live without food, water, electricity and food for another year.”

Members of the clinic said they would spend their visit to Brussels trying to campaign against the memorandum and the austerity policies imposed on Greece. But after being informed, the Vice President of the European Parliament, Sylvie Guillaume, of the French Socialist Party, cancelled plane tickets and accommodation for the representatives of the centre to the ceremony, scheduled for 14-15 October in Brussels, saying she did not find their participation appropriate. “The event and the ceremony is a special occasion to recognize all winners and should not be used for other purposes, and it has nothing to do with the quality of your action,” she said.

Members of the group said the prize symbolized the recognition of “a four year struggle for a fairer society for the unemployed – uninsured people that have been neglected by the Greek state during the Greek crisis” but they recalled that “this fight is for the three million people in Greece without social security, without employment and in utter poverty, as a result of the politics of austerity being imposed by the IMF IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.
together with the European Central Bank Central Bank The establishment which in a given State is in charge of issuing bank notes and controlling the volume of currency and credit. In France, it is the Banque de France which assumes this role under the auspices of the European Central Bank (see ECB) while in the UK it is the Bank of England.

and the European Union”.

In a statement after learning that they would receive the price, they said: “For us and for the most of the Greek people, Europe is our home. A home full of people of understanding and solidarity. This is the Europe that we believe in and wish for. Much to our regret, we come across a Europe lost in bureaucratic cogwheels and banking interests. Much to our dismay, we see that Europe’s top priority is to find billions of Euro for private banking while, at the same time, a fifty per cent budget cut is being imposed on Greek Health Care System, in relation to the year 2009.”

In the text, the self-managed clinic of Elliniko cites data from the Prolepsis Institution on the impoverishment of Greek society: six out of ten students in Athens (of 64 analysed schools) have urgent nutritional needs, 11% of students have no health insurance, in 2014 7% of them lived without electricity for a week, 1053 schools received the food aid program to meet the basic needs of 152,937 students. The statement is also an echo of the study of the Office of the Greek Parliament’s budget, that 3.8 million Greeks live close to the poverty threshold (432 euros per person) and 2.5 million live below this threshold (233 euros per person per month). “This means that 6.3 million Greeks, 58% of the population lives near or below the poverty line,” as they underlined.

For all these reasons, the group says it does not reject Europe or its people, but they feel compelled to “turn our back to all the institutions and their politicians, who treat people as numbers in accounting files, the European Parliament included.” an attitude, they say, which “is a shame on European civilization.”

Translated by Jenny Bright




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