Guy Verhofstadt tears into Greece/Alexis Tsipras in the European parliament – and the reply

Newshound covered this on Thursday, but here’s a second chance to view Guy Verhofstadt, Member of the European Parliament and leader of the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, telling Alexis Tsipras very precisely and passionately what Greece has to do. It’s a real zinger of a speech (and much better than Nigel Farage’s foghorned nonsense).

If you haven’t seen this, it’s well worth looking at. It’s the one commentary on the Greek situation which, for me, has made real sense:

And this is Mr Tsipras’ reply, delivered with a smile:

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is currently taking a break from his role as one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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  • Tony Dawson 11th Jul '15 - 7:53pm

    I like Guy H’s delivery. A kind of Dutch Tim Farron.

    Maybe Tim should make a speech in Dutch? Oh no, hang on, that’s Nick C! 😉

  • Ya.

    It certainly makes sense for Mr Verhofstadt and a company he sits on the board of.

    A vile man whose disdain for democracy never ceases to amaze. That the Liberal Democrats continue their support for people like him and the institutions and corporatism he represents while bleating impotently about reforming them is the primary reason why, despite my sharing many other views with the party, I will not join.

  • Whatever the merits of Mr Verhofstadt’s proposals, I can’t say much for the manner in which he delivered them, which for some reason reminded me of a fishmonger at market. Perhaps the hemicycle was unusually noisy that day.

  • Thanks for the link Carl.
    That awful man Verhofstadt is the poster boy for Lib Dems because they hate voters and democracy, just as much as he does. To Verhofstadt and Lib Dems democracy is just an annoyance and a constant irritation because voters are always getting the wrong answer?

  • MEP Guy Verhofstadt acted foolishly towards the prime minister of Greece. I have never seen anyone disrespect an elected European leader to such a degree. To stand and criticize the Orthodox Church and state they have privilege in Greece where statistics reveal the population is over 90% Christian Orthodox is deeply offensive, imagine if he made that comment about the privilege of the Catholic Church to Italy’s prime minister. Obviously the media wants to spin the story against this Greek government because it dares to stand up and challenge the status quo and expose the corruption of the European Banking System. Greece was allowed to join the EU thanks to international banking experts fixing the books, and those responsible for at least part of this crisis will never be brought to justice and so the poor Greek taxpayer and the present Greek government will be made to suffer the consequences.

  • Theo:

    I do not understand. Are you saying that it is OK that the church, the military, the ship owners and the political class all enjoy privileges and preferential treatment or that it is not OK, but these things should not be mentioned?

    Guy Verhofstadt is spelling out that the habit of clientelism and privilege is damaging to Greece. Moreover he cites a damning recent example that I have yet to see refuted about civil service appointments going to Syriza members. This needed to be publicised. Nepotism and corruption in the Greek public service has often been referred to, but it was easy to think that somehow the issue may be exaggerated and in any case, is not as bad as it was. One telling example pours cold water on such thinking.

    [I had a look at the link – it is just tenuous polemical rubbish such as can be found on the internet, making much of indirect association]

  • Peter Gresswell 12th Jul '15 - 10:03am

    And it is precisely this attitude from the Liberals that makes them so unpopular with people of Greek descent in the UK (very many of us). You seem to have a quasi-racist attitude towards the Greeks, again and again.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 12th Jul '15 - 10:30am

    @ John Dunn,

    When your people start turning up and doing their job as MEPs, rather than trying to negate the democratic process through attempted sabotage, feel free to talk of voters and democracy.

    Verhofstadt is successfully representing the views of a lot of Europeans who believe that, in return for debt relief, the Greek state has to reform its economy – proper tax administration, the end of cronyism, etc. Or should I presume that UKIP supporters don’t care about any of those things, merely wanting a project that we aren’t involved in to fail?

    @ Theo,

    You forget that Guy and Alexis know each other well, having campaigned across Europe when they were both running to be President of the European Commission. If you watch the video, you will note that at points, Alexis smiles at Guy (the Venizelos reference, for example). And it is odd that a supposedly radical politicians should be so loathe to tax the rich, attack privilege and pack the institutions with his own people.

    And, good grief, that a politician should show some passion…

  • Verhofstadt loves the EU empire above all else – that’s it really.

  • @Theo: MEP Guy Verhofstadt is also elected.

  • George Carpenter 12th Jul '15 - 12:24pm

    There are some ridiculous comments about Guy “hates democracy”.
    May I remind the kipper trolls that he is elected on an actual democratic, proportional system, unlike some Tory prime ministers I could mention.
    Also, the EU has been the main advocate of democracy and human rights, forcing countries that aren’t democratic, apart from Britain to implement democratic systems.

  • Michael Berridge 12th Jul '15 - 12:43pm

    I went to Greece on a travel scholarship in 1963. As I had spent nine years studying Greek language and culture, you might think I’d have fallen in love with the place. I’ve never been back since. The Elgin Marbles row is one reason, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (what’s in a name?) another. Greece is a country trapped in its past.

  • @ Mark Valladares
    “When your people start turning up and doing their job as MEPs, rather than trying to negate the democratic process through attempted sabotage, feel free to talk of voters and democracy.”
    But there is *no* democratic process in the EU, and the job of Ukip MEPs is to point that fact out at every opportunity.
    As for Greece. The view of Ukip as shown by Farage last week, is that they should never have got into this stupid Euro ‘lock’ in the first place, and they will have to exit before they have any hope of recovering their economy or sovereignty. The Greeks should not fear an exit because they will find they have many more friends than they realise, outside the Euro. And let’s be frank,..if Verhofstadt is an example friend, Greeks need friends like him riding roughshod over their sovereignty for the next 50 years?.
    As for the Eurozone. This crazed political project that no-one asked for or voted for, is fatally wounded by recent events. The Eurozone in its hubris, poisoned itself with the Euro currency. It thought that a United States of Europe would naturally follow once countries were chained together with a single currency. It was a daft idea, and it has failed spectacularly. The Eurozone is now unravelling at a brisk pace, and the final collapse is just a matter of when.?
    The real mystery and constant source of bewilderment for me, is why after the abject failure in May 2014, and again in May 2015, you still ‘hitch your wagon’ to this EU madness.? Are you all locked into some kind of *group think, political suicide*? Seriously ?

  • @ George Carpenter
    “May I remind the kipper trolls”
    I do not hide the fact that I support Ukip, but I always try to comment in a coherent way, remaining on topic and remaining relevant within the flow of other thread comments and questions put to me.
    So ,..What is it that marks me out as a troll?

  • Stephen Campbell 12th Jul '15 - 1:33pm

    @George Carpenter: “May I remind the kipper trolls that he is elected on an actual democratic, proportional system, unlike some Tory prime ministers I could mention.”

    Just because someone posted something you do not agree with does not make them a “troll”. I thought Liberals believed in plural politics and open debate, rather than name-calling which is quite illiberal? Some elements in this party are indeed very intolerant towards dissenting views. I would not vote for UKIP if my life depended on it, but they are entitled to express their views without being called names.

    Back to the subject at hand: have the Greek people not suffered enough? Or is all the poverty, hunger, early deaths and suicides an acceptable amount of “collateral damage” to keep the EU alive? The EU was meant to be built upon bringing nations together and solidarity. Yet some people, with their near-religious fervor for the EU, seem to think that anything it does it acceptable so long as it remains in its current form.

  • Tony Dawson 12th Jul '15 - 1:37pm

    @Alex Macfie

    ” MEP Guy Verhofstadt is also elected.”

    and amazingly, being a democrat, he also advocate proportional representation which would allow these UKIP trolls greater representation in the UK parliament.

  • Michael Parsons 12th Jul '15 - 4:48pm

    The elephant in this particular room is the blatant disregard of a referendum outcome that the supposedly ‘democratic’ EU leaders disliked, their blatant attempto overthrow or reverse it (as they did with all other similar refendums) in open alliance with corrupt and greedy banks that wrote up loans against zero real assets (in effect forging that money) and now seek to pass their loss on to the Greek public as they did in UK.
    No wonder the morally dubious and decayed pro-EU LibDem movement has suported referedums on Europe – heads we win, tails you lose and we pinch your cash! Could the case for violent political assassinaition as a tool of democracy be better made?

  • Alex Macfie 12th Jul '15 - 6:29pm

    John Dunn:

    “But there is *no* democratic process in the EU”

    You mean we don’t elect the European Parliament?

  • Stephen Campbell “Some elements in this party are indeed very intolerant towards dissenting views”

    Yes I myself have been targetted recently in the last few days and people who agreed with me have been dismissed sneeringly as “people like Phyllis”.

    I honestly (some might say naively) thought Lib Dem peeps would be above that kind of thing. Sigh.

  • Michael Parsons:

    A Greek referendum is a Greek matter. The ‘No’ was accepted outside Greece, which meant that it was up to Greece to put forward a proposal, if she wished.

    You appear to suggest that a Greek vote can order money from other countries; is that your idea of democracy? Nor can a Greek vote change EU rules. There are democratic procedures, involving democratically elected governments and MEPs to do this.

    I do not understand what you think a democratic response should have been.

  • Simon Hebditch 13th Jul '15 - 12:34pm

    It would be helpful to get some perspective back into the debate about the European Union. My concern about the farce of recent weeks concerning the Greek situation is that it illustrates the fundamental flaws of the euro and the construction of the Eurozone. It is a halfway house between a confederal arrangement whereby individual nation states sign up to collaboration across specified policies and a full federal structure which smoothes out the differences between surplus and deficit countries within the federation. I am fully in favour of the Eurozone moving towards a full fiscal and political union – a united states of Europe. If that was constructed properly, it might then be feasible for the UK and others to join.

    Failing that political and fiscal development, the euro should be abandoned along with the current Eurozone structure and individual countries should reclaim the full responsibilities of their central banks so that individual devaluations could take place if necessary.

    The proposals put forward by some Eurozone leaders would have led to the political dismemberment of Greece – in fact they may still do so, Do we want to remain a member of the EU in those circumstances?

  • Stephen Campbell 13th Jul '15 - 4:32pm

    @Paul Walter: “Whenever we are made aware of ad hominem attacks, we will delete them.”

    So an ad hominem attack upon a Lib Dem is not allowed, but ad hominem attacks on people you disagree with (calling people tro11s) is allowed?

    That’s, erm, an interesting rule you have there.

  • Matthew Huntbach 13th Jul '15 - 7:13pm

    I don’t have time to waste watching videos. I still don’t know what Verhofstadt said. I would appreciate it if LDV would put the words spoken on line, which I could read in a few seconds rather than put up a video which requires 7 and a half minutes to get the words from. I mean in general, this is just an example.

  • Matthew Huntbach 13th Jul '15 - 7:20pm

    OK, I have now looked at Verhofstadt’s words, which are available from a link in the earlier article.

    Now it would seem to me that the problem is just as much down to those who lent money to Greece without proper care as to how it was being spent and how it would be paid back. And they seem to want to wriggle out of it, pretend it’s nothing to do with them, blame the Greeks alone, make the Greeks take all the bad consequences.

    That is wrong, very wrong.

  • Peter Martin 14th Dec '20 - 2:42pm

    @ Mark,

    I was looking for some support for Greek Democracy not what I did find when I typed in the word Greece as suggested.

    I’m not making a partisan point here. The support from the Labour party for the Greek Govt just wasn’t there either.

    Yanis Varoufakis called the 2015 “settlement” a new Versailles Surrender Treaty.

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