CUTS in Government spending must preserve health and social care, Green Party MEP Jean Lambert has said at a conference on health-care in austerity-hit Greece.

“Reducing public spending by limiting access to essential  health and social care is counterproductive and  cruel,” said the Green MEP, “and will only lead to increased spending in the longer-term.

“A central role of any Government is to preserve the well-being of its residents, and cuts to care are undermining this responsibility.

“The Troika of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank which manages the terms of EU bailouts must be looked at again in this light. 

“I welcome the involvement of the WHO, which I hope the Greek Government will  accept willingly, given the current state of the Greek healthcare system, where almost one third of the population does not have health full health cover and we are seeing infant mortality starting to rise.

“I think the Troika should be disbanded – and until that happens it should be supplemented with a group charged with measuring the social effects of any austerity measures imposed such as the ILO.”

She made her comments at an Athens conference on healthcare co-sponsored by Greek Green MEP Nikos Chrysogelos, a medical association and the Archbishopric of Athens.

Ms Lambert added: “Cuts in government spending have led to crucial care service being curtailed across Europe, with a move away from promoting independent living for people with disabilities and increased pressure on the ‘friends and relatives army’ providing much informal care for older people.

“This must be reversed – the human, and economic, costs are just too high.”

This month Greece took up the rotating presidency of the EU, a role the country will hold for six-months.


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