PM Tsipras Asks Juncker if the ‘European Acquis’ Applies to Greece

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday sent a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker asking if the European acquis communautaire applies to all EU member states or it’s applicable to all except Greece.

The letter was also sent to European Council President Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni. Tsipras — who is in Rome  for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the EU — expressed Greece’s intention to support the Rome Declaration “which moves in a positive direction.”

Tsipras noted that the EU consolidated the achievements of its peoples whose goal is to “ensure progress, prosperity, and peace.”

“Nevertheless, in order to be able to celebrate these achievements, it has to be made clear, on an official level, whether they apply also to Greece. Whether, in other words, the European acquis is valid for all member states without exception, or for all except Greece,” the Greek prime minister said.

The Greek administration objects strongly to the International Monetary Fund’s demands relating to Greece’s labor laws and pension system. The Fund is asking for further austerity measures for the completion of the second evaluation of the country’s bailout program.

The thorny issues remaining are the percentage of mass layoffs, restoration of collective bargaining and union rights. Greece wants to restore collective bargaining for certain professions, lower percentages for mass layoffs and more power to labor unions than creditors propose.

Tsipras explained that Greece has been in rescue programs for the last seven years, in the name of which “a situation of exception from our common European acquis has been implicitly imposed.”

“Most notably this relates to the exception from the European acquis on social rights and specifically the exception from ‘best practices’ on labor relations and collective bargaining,” Tsipras insisted.