Hier dokumentiere ich meine persönliche Erklärung “Zypern, Irland, Portugal: Rettet die Menschen, nicht die Banken” auf Englisch. Personal statement by Christine Buchholz from the Left Party parliamentary group, under Rule 31 of the Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag, regarding the motions tabled by the Federal Ministry of Finance on loans for Cyprus and the extension of the maturities of the loans to Ireland and Portugal.
Today I am voting against the four motions tabled by Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, because this so-called financial assistance does not help the people in the countries concerned. It only benefits banks and businesses and is tied to massive social cuts.
The planned theft of Cypriots’ savings led to mass protests outside Parliament. On the day of the vote on whether to accept the conditions of the loan, the demonstrators chanted: “In Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, the enemy is in the banks and in the ministries.”
Massive opposition led to a partial victory for workers: deposits under 100,000 euros were left untouched. Yet the conditions for the loan still hit ordinary people. In Cyprus, just as in Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, the achievements of the welfare state are to be abolished, the public service slashed, wages and pensions drastically cut, and public assets and infrastructure privatised.
Cyprus is allegedly a money-laundering hub for Russian oligarchs. But why should ordinary Cypriots be bled dry as a result? In fact, European businesses and speculators have profited for years from the high interest rates and low taxes in Cyprus. But they are getting off scot-free. Cypriot entrepreneurs, members of the government and international financial sharks also transferred at least 4.5 billion euros abroad before the closure of the second-largest Cypriot bank. The Federal Government’s negotiating partner, the conservative President Anastasiades, and several members of the government are implicated in this scandal. Those who have profited from past tax dumping are getting away with it. The EU is covering up this criminal exodus of capital, which is inflicting further damage on the country.
I also criticise the fact that the Federal Government is abusing the loans to put pressure on Cyprus and force it to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme. The EU’s aim is ensure that Cyprus joins NATO – against the will of the majority of the Cypriot population.
With regard to Portugal and Ireland as well, the extension of existing credit lines is only being approved on the condition that the governments of these countries continue to enact swingeing social cuts. In Portugal, following pressure from the trade unions, the constitutional court has ruled that parts of the austerity package, involving cuts affecting the unemployed, pensioners and the public service, are unconstitutional. Yet the German government and Finance Minister Schäuble are not interested, and nor is the Troika of the EU, IMF and ECB.
My solidarity is with the people of Cyprus, Ireland and Portugal, who are opposing the impoverishment programme demanded by the Troika. That is why I voted against the Federal Government’s motions today.
Christine Buchholz, 18 April 2013
Christine Buchholz, Member of the German Bundestag, Spokeswoman on peace policy for the Left Party parliamentary group