The legislative elections in Greece on 25 January brought to power Syriza, a left-wing group which campaigned on an anti-austerity platform. We asked Parliament's president Martin Schulz as well as representatives of the various political groups to share their views and expectations after the vote. Read on to find out what they had to say, and click on the names to watch our short video clips.
Parliament's president Martin Schulz said that Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras has the full right to be respected as the new democratically elected prime minister of an EU country, but also stressed that “we have to stick to agreements made to stabilise Greece and the European Union”.
“I am hoping that the eurozone will not be affected”, said José Manuel Fernandes (EPP, Portugal), calling the news of a coalition with a party from the opposite extreme of the political spectrum “not a very good signal”.
“The right path is to change Europe’s economic policies together” said Gianni Pittella (S&D, Italy.) However, he was critical of Syriza’s move to form a governing coalition with a right-wing group.
Mark Demesmaeker (ECR, Belgium) said there is no other choice but to continue on the path of reforms: “If you are member of a club, you have to comply with the rules”, he said, referring to Greece’s membership in the eurozone.
Gérard Deprez (ALDE, Belgium) said the rescheduling of Greek debt is “entirely conceivable”, but emphasised that the economic situation in Greece is unique and should not be compared with other countries.
“It is a triumph for Syriza, the Left and the Greek people and a defeat for the policies which have led to unemployment, destitution and poverty”, said Marina Albiol Guzmán (GUE/NGL, Spain).
Philippe Lamberts (Greens/EFA, Belgium) welcomed the news of Syriza’s victory, as it signalled the arrival of a new force in Greek politics.
“The euro project itself is now dead in the water”, said Raymond Finch (EFDD, UK), and reminded that Spain and Italy will hold elections later this year, with anti-austerity parties likely to do well in both countries.