EU commission tries to win Greek sympathy
Valentina Pop, EUobserver, 18.04.2012
With less than a month to general elections in Greece where radical parties are expected to score well, the European Commission is trying change the impression among Greeks that the EU is only about imposing austerity measure. […]
The timing of Barroso's motivational speech and the paper promising jobs and economic growth once the bitter pill of more austerity is swallowed is no coincidence, says Janis Emmanouilidis from the European Policy Centre, a Brussels think tank.
"It is obviously a political document, most of the proposals are not new, they are already mentioned in the memorandum of understanding (linked to the second bail-out) and in the last taskforce reports," Emmanouilidis told this website.
One exception, he noted, is a new focus on the social cost and the record-high rates of youth unemployment. "It shows the fear of what could happen if things go wrong, political and social unrest not only in Greece, but also outside the country."
Is Brussels’ softer message getting across?
Emmanouilidis however remains sceptical that the "we care" message is coming across in Greece, where last month a pensioner shot himself in front of the parliament.
In his suicide note he blamed austerity measures and the Greek government, which he compared to the Nazi collaborators who ruled occupied Greece during World War II.
"If it's an exercise to cool down tempers in Greece and show that the EU is helping, I don't think it reaches the people, who are angry and frustrated," he concluded.
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