Saturday 17 August 2019

Greeks hit out at David Cameron over comments about entry restrictions

Renee Maltezou

GREECE’S co-ruling Socialists hit out at British Prime Minister David Cameron today, accusing him of "insulting" Athens by saying Britain could restrict the entry of Greeks and citizens of other struggling euro zone countries.

The PASOK party, led by fiery former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, said Cameron would do better to explain Britain's interest rate-rigging scandal than rattle markets with talk of restricting immigration.

The party, a member of Greece's new three-party conservative-led government, called on Cameron to either deny or "rephrase" his reported comments.

"Is the UK, which is not a member of the euro zone, so interested in the unity and stability of the euro zone that it is threatening policing measures which violate all principles, basic freedoms and rules of the European Union?" the party said in a statement.

Responding to speculation in Britain about possible waves of migrants from debt-laden euro zone countries such as Greece and Spain, Cameron told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday:

"The legal position is that if there are extraordinary stresses and strains it is possible to take action to restrict migratory flows, but obviously we hope that doesn't happen."

Watching the euro zone crisis from the sidelines, Cameron is under pressure from eurosceptics in his Conservative Party to give Britons a vote on whether they wish to remain inside the EU or to downgrade their relationship with Brussels.

But his comment touched a nerve in Greece, where many Greeks already feel humiliated by the debt crisis that has left the country dependent on bailouts from the EU and the International Monetary Fund to avoid bankruptcy.

"It would be preferable if the British prime minister, rather than making remarks that are insulting or create a false sense of nervousness in the markets, elaborated on the information regarding the manipulation of the Libor interest rate and took better care of the fiscal figures of his country," PASOK said.


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