UKIP Leader Nigel Farage speaks during the joint debate on the European Semester, Strasbourg, 25.02.2014,
• European Parliament, Strasbourg, 25 February 2014
• Speaker: Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Co-President of the 'Europe of Freedom and Democracy' (EFD) Group in the European Parliament.
- Blue-card Question: Phillipe Lamberts MEP (Belgium), Greens group
• Joint Debate: European Semester
1. European Semester for economic policy coordination: annual growth survey 2014
Report: Philippe De Backer (A7-0084/2014)
- Report on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: Annual Growth Survey 2014
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
2. European Semester for economic policy coordination: employment and social aspects
Report: Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto (A7-0091/2014)
- Report on the European Semester for economic policy coordination: Employment and Social Aspects in the Annual Growth Survey 2014
Committee on Employment and Social Affairs
3. Single market governance
Report: Sergio Gaetano Cofferati (A7-0066/2014)
- Report on Single Market governance within the European Semester 2014
Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
"Well, I've sat here this morning feeling like the odd man out. I mean, to me it's beyond parody for the Greek finance minister, Mr Kourkoulas, to come along here and tell us our fortune.
"'The policies are bearing fruit!'
"'We're going to tackle unemployment!'
"And no one says anything. No, because of course everybody here is tied up with the same obsession: the obsession that the euro must and will work; the obsession that you'll use the crisis to build a United States of Europe.
"What you could have told them, Mr Koukoulas, is that according to the respected medical journal The Lancet, there are now 800,000 people in Greece without access to welfare or medical care.
"You could have told them that. But even if had they would not have listened, so obsessed are they with building the euro.
"Okay, simple listen in economics. When you have two countries that are completely at different stages of the economic cycle, one currency needs to devalue, but if those countries are pegged or tied inside the same currency and they cannot devalue you have to devalue the country. And that is what is happening to the Mediterranean. We are devaluing the Mediterranean and it's leading towards Third World status.
"No amount of socialist state spending can mend this imbalance, and it's about time - if people here cared for the citizens of Europe, particularly in the south - that we admitted the euro does not work for Southern Europe and it's time that we broke it up and gave countries currencies that reflected their current economic status."
This was followed by a 'blue-card question' from Belgian Greens MEP Phillipe Lamberts.