Tsipras: Europe not properly addressing its ‘excessive social deficit’

There is currently an “excessive social deficit” in Europe that is not being adequately addressed, Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Friday, in a press conference after the end of the European Council in Brussels.

“We cannot just announce measures, such as the social pillar for example, without ensuring that these measures are carried out. We cannot, on various pretexts and with rearrangements of a largely decorative nature, always find ourselves at the exact same spot without any real change to the crucial issue of social convergence,” Tsipras said.

The Greek prime minister also strongly criticised the refusal of some EU member-states to take on their share of the burden in the refugee crisis, saying this was a “bomb at the foundations of the EU’s function.”

The letter written by European Council President Donald Tusk on this issue was “inappropriate”, Tsipras noted: “We cannot allow some parties today – on the grounds that the refugee crisis does not affect them, does not impact on them – to impose a change in the way of thinking, discussing and deciding that has been established in the EU for a long time and which is also one of its founding principles. This is a bomb at the foundations of the EU’s function.”

This was, according to Tsipras, the basis of the disagreement that he had expressed and was a “disagreement that I think we will find ourselves facing in the future”.

“I believe that at some point we must make it clear that there cannot be an ‘a la carte’ Europe. It is not possible for some to believe that they can have only rights and no obligations,” he added.