Cyprus: "No" to the next attack on democracy and the welfare state

Personal statement by Sevim Dagdelen of the Left Party parliamentary group, given pursuant to Rule 31 of the Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag, on the motion tabled by the Federal Government on approving financial aid for Cyprus

Mr President, fellow Members of the Bundestag,

Today I voted against the Federal Government’s motion to grant financial aid to Cyprus. I did so for the simple reason that it is yet another case of the Federal Government – and the SPD and the Greens – launching an attack on democracy and the welfare state in Europe.

(Applause from the Left Party)

In Cyprus, social spending cuts are once again being used to save banks and corporations – not to save the people of Cyprus or elsewhere.

(Intervention by Member of the Bundestag Claudia Roth (Alliance 90/The Greens))

Even healthcare spending for the poorest of Cyprus‘ poor is set to be slashed by 30 percent. This cynical logic, which has already damaged Greece, Portugal and Spain by causing widespread suffering among the people and an explosion in national debt, is now being applied to Cyprus.

Yet again, bailout packages worth billions are being put together to save the banks, and German taxpayers are having to help foot the bill. Ladies and gentlemen, in their efforts to fatten up the super-rich, the CDU, the CSU, the SPD, the Greens and the FDP are plunging half of Europe into a life of misery.

(Volker Kauder (CDU/CSU): What?)

It therefore comes as no surprise that the Federal Government has not published its information on the capital flight that occurred in Cyprus just before the banks closed. I would like to ask the Federal Government: who exactly are you protecting by keeping this information out of the public eye?

(Applause from the Left Party)

Even close family members of your fellow conservative, the president of Cyprus, allegedly rescued millions of euros by getting them out of the country before the closures. Not only are you very probably covering up the crimes of your Cypriot colleagues by failing to publish information on the capital flight, but you have also shown how you intend to fund your generous gifts to Europe’s super-rich in the future by stating your willingness to bring the deposits in small-scale savings accounts into the firing line.

(Intervention from the FDP: Isn’t this supposed to be a personal statement on how you voted?)

Yes, Cyprus is a blueprint for a situation where even savings below €100,000 are no longer safe.

Along with the SPD and the Greens, you are destroying the social security systems and the last vestiges of social security in Europe.

Vice-President Wolfgang Thierse:

Ms Dagdelen, may I remind you that you wanted to give a personal statement ‑

Sevim Dagdelen (The Left Party)


Vice-President Wolfgang Thierse:

‑ on how you decided to vote, and not a general policy speech that will only prolong the debate?

(Applause from the CDU/CSU, the SPD, the FDP and Alliance 90/The Greens)

Sevim Dagdelen (The Left Party):

Yes. Mr President, if you allow me to continue, I will also get to that point.

(Laughter from the CDU/CSU and the FDP – intervention from the FDP: You must be joking!)

This is a very personal statement – remember, ladies and gentlemen, the truth is the whole. Another reason why I voted against the motion to grant Cyprus financial aid is because I believe that today’s vote in the Bundestag represents a serious attack on democracy. Yet again, agreements worth billions have been reached in just a few days. As a member of this parliament, I find that outrageous and unacceptable.

No reference is being made to the severe risks that the federal budget is facing, so it is impossible for the Members of the Bundestag to conduct this procedure properly. By pursuing a policy focused on the troika and its memoranda, by adopting this kind of approach, you are establishing an outright dictatorship in Europe. Yes, an outright dictatorship in Europe. Economic, social and employment policies are no longer decided by the people’s representatives, but rather rest in the hands of appointed commissions and administrations hell-bent on cutting everything they can. You (and we) are, so to speak, being dictated to about how the minutest details of our policies should look. Ladies and gentlemen, this cannot be allowed to continue.

(Applause from the Left Party)

Attacking democracy and the welfare state is not the only way. That is why I voted "no" today. Today we offer our solidarity to the Cypriot people and say: No! όχι (Ochi)! And hayır! Today we are all Cypriots! Σήμερα είμαστε όλοι Κύπριοι (Simera imaste oli Kiprii)! Bugün hepimiz Kibrisliyiz!

(Applause from the Left Party – intervention from the Left Party: Bravo!)