Answer given by Mr Katainen on behalf of the Commission
The Commission is committed to ensuring that, when implementing EC law, Member States respect the rights enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. However, the programme documents are not EC law, but instruments agreed between Greece and its lenders: as such, the Charter cannot be used as a reference, and it is for Greece to ensure that its own obligations on fundamental rights are respected. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the measures adopted by the Greek authorities do not infringe the Convention of Human Rights.
The Commission is fully aware of the difficult social situation in Greece and the reform programme has a strong focus on employment and social policies to tackle it(1). The programme keeps very much in mind the need to ensure the fairness of the adjustment process, protecting the low income groups. It puts great emphasis on reforms to create sustainable growth and jobs, and includes policies aiming to increase the effectiveness of social safety nets and to widen the scope of unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed and the access of the uninsured to health services. In addition, a minimum income guarantee scheme is being launched on a pilot basis. This scheme will be rolled-out across the country in phased manner, starting in 2015. Concerning unemployment, schemes financed with EU structural funds are already in place to recruit young and long-term unemployed.