Former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker referred to the austerity measures and memoranda imposed on Greece in an interview, admitting something that Greeks already knew all too well, that the measures implemented were harsh and Greek dignity "was not always respected".
“The Greeks have suffered a lot during this terrible period. Their dignity was not always respected,” he said.
Speaking to Euronews, he underlined that “the measures imposed on Greek society were very strict” and that “their dignity was not always respected”.
On the occasion of the formal completion of Greece’s economic surveillance, he said that this is good news both for Greece and for Europe, “because it shows, regardless of all the mistakes that have been made, that European solidarity exists and those who defended Greece, that was my case, they were right to say no to those who wanted to exclude Greece from the single currency zone”.
Asked about this, Mr Juncker said that “it was not only Germany that was very critical of Greece”, but also that the Dutch, Austrians, Slovaks, Slovenians, Finns and others did not stop attacking Greece during the financial crisis.
Referring to the referendum, he said that then he had to fight to prevent other countries from officially asking Greece to leave the Eurozone.
“Because this referendum was a scandal, in large part, because people said no, but the program as decided, was implemented,” he said.
“It was a mistake for the Greeks because they were voting for something that no longer existed. It was unnecessary,” said Jean-Claude Juncker and added that the referendum “caused turmoil in the markets, Greece was under more pressure than ever, so I would like to forget this chapter.”
Regarding the “lessons” from the Greek crisis, Jean-Claude Juncker pointed out the following: “We must not repeat the mistakes we made during the Greek euro crisis. And I always thought that the distribution of efforts between the rich and the poor was not quite balanced."
"Part of this mistake is due to the European Union, because … in the IMF, the Central Bank and the Commission in the years before my years, we implemented a blind austerity budget, which was a mistake”," he added.