The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)
Salmond says UK should have stood up for Greece
Lack of solidarity with ailing country ‘will see us reap a bitter harvest’
The Government should have shown more “solidarity” with Greece and not discouraged holiday makers from travelling to the stricken country, Alex Salmond has said.
As bank closures continue in Greece, ministers and official Foreign Office advice have urged travellers to take all the cash they might need to cover their entire trip, including for contingencies and emergencies.
David Cameron and George Osborne have also rejected suggestions Britain may have to contribute hundreds of millions of pounds to the latest bailout.
Mr Salmond, the SNP foreign affairs spokesman, said this had undermined the thriving holiday trade between Britain and Greece, warning the UK would “reap a bitter harvest” from its failure to support the country.
The assertion was rejected by Europe Minister David Lidington during Commons Foreign Office questions.
Speaking after Euro group ministers in Brussels attached harsh conditions to a new bailout for the Greeks, Mr Salmond said: “Shouldn’t the Government have shown a bit more solidarity?
“For many of us, the attitude of the European Commission, the ECB, certain European leaders, has been arrogant, dismissive and anti-democratic.
“But all this Government seems to have done is discourage tourists from going to Greece. Shouldn't you have shown more solidarity in recent weeks?”
Mr Lidington replied: “I think we have certainly not advised tourists against travel to Greece. I think the lesson that you need to take on board is the Greeks consistently said they wish to join and remain within the Euro.
“Joining that currency union does mean the sacrifice of a considerable amount of national sovereignty.”
Mr Salmond continued: “Maybe the lesson you should take is if a little more understanding had been shown to Greece, maybe they would show more understanding towards the UK Government’s position in its renegotiation.
“You reap what you sow and this Government will reap a bitter harvest.”
Mr Lidington said: “When the Chancellor made his statement on Greece last week he made very clear the sympathy and long standing friendship between this country and the people of of Greece.
“The Prime Minister made an offer of technical support for things like improving the efficacy of their taxation system, that offer still remains open.”