Jean-Claude Juncker: Greece is making efforts in the right direction

The most difficult part of my political career was when everyone was asking for Greece to exit the Eurozone, the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said in reply to a question from the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).

Juncker gave an interview on Wednesday to six journalists from Le Monde, Liberation, De Standard, Le Soir, Tagblat and the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

Asked about the correlation between fiscal discipline and growth and whether the second was possible without large investments, Juncker referred to the Stability Pact and the possibilities it offered.

“I offered Greece 35 billion euros to implement reforms that would benefit employment. We have to admit that Greece is making efforts to the right direction in order to ensure its stay in the Eurozone,” he said.

Juncker acknowledged that the Greeks have shown incredible courage, especially the lower income classes.

Moreover, he harshly criticised Turkey’s stance, stressing that Turkey is far from the EU. “Journalists belong in news rooms and not in prisons,” he said.

He backed his position to abolish the member-states’ veto rights and take decisions by majority vote, arguing that this is not a lack of democracy but will help the EU move forward. “I strongly support the use of qualified majority voting for decisions on the common consolidated corporate tax base, fair taxation for the digital industry and the financial transaction tax.”

He spoke of the changes he would have desired at an institutional level in the Eurozone: “We need a European economy and finance minister, a European minister to promote and support structural reforms in our member states.”