The largest political group in the European Parliament, the right-wing conservative European People’s Party (EPP), announced on Monday morning it was pulling out of a parliament fact-finding mission on the erosion of the rule of law in Greece, citing last week’s tragic train accident as its reason.
The EPP, of which Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ party New Democracy is a member, is claiming it is doing so out of respect for the victims of the train accident – which killed 57 people last week – yet it is the only political party to have pulled out of the trip. The delegation of MEPs arrived in Athens on Monday afternoon.
“Following the horrible train accident in Greece, the EPP Group has decided not to participate in the mission of Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), that starts there today. It is inappropriate and insensitive,” said EPP leader MEP Manfred Weber and MEP Jeroen Lenaers, spokesperson for the Group in the committee.
The EPP group said that it had requested to postpone the trip following the Greek authorities’ appeal to reconsider the mission. “It is extremely disappointing that the Left Groups are so blinded by their dislike of certain governments that they lose sight of the most basic level of respect and humanity,” Lenaers added.
According to the European Parliament, the mission has been scheduled for months, and last week a vote was rejected in the Parliament’s bureau to postpone the trip.