Mr Pappas said proclaiming a pro-EU stance without backing federalism was “meaningless” and amounted to “talking the talk but not walking the walk”.
In an interview with Greek newspaper Avgi, the Minister of Digital Policy, Media and Telecommunications and a close ally of prime minister Alexis Tsipras, insisted Europe should strengthen its rhetoric promoting serious integration.
He said: “The European governance model has shown its limits and all the criticism it has been receiving for two decades has proved to be fair.”
And in a thinly-veiled criticism of Greek opposition politicians, Mr Pappas said those joining the ‘We remain in Europe’ movement – which is failing to support radical changes such as a European unemployment allowance, a higher EU budget, a banking union and the strengthening the European Parliament powers – “swim in an ideologically shallow area”.
Greek government minister Nikos Pappas wants stronger European links
Athens want to move forward with the EU
He told Avgi: “The ‘We remain in Europe’ movement was created in Greece just before the July 2015 referendum to decide if Greece should accept the third bailout conditions.
“Almost all Greek opposition parties joined this movement and campaigned on the platform that a ‘No’ vote in the referendum would mean a ‘Grexit’ from the EU.”
This view was shared by many EU leaders but they changed their minds when the no vote ultimately prevailed.
But the leftist Syriza government had always made it clear the referendum would be on the terms of the bailout and not EU membership.
Greek prime minister Alex Tsipras
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The European governance model has shown its limits and all the criticism it has been receiving for two decades has proved to be fair
Mr Pappas said: “The neoliberal consensus which prevailed in Europe over the last 20 years was basically the result of co-operation between social democrats and the centre-right conservative political forces.
“This recipe is now faced with an impasse.
“Europe is at a crossroads and has two choices: either going far right and turning back to nationalism and the ideology of hatred or moving toward a progressive and left agenda.
“It seems that parts of social democracy have begun to revise the strategic choices they made in the past two decades.”
Greece has been struggling with a crippling debt crisis since 2009 and has been forced to implement hugely unpopular austerity policies in return for a bail-out from the EU.
Mr Tsipras has just agreed to additional austerity measures on condition of further debt relief that will enable the country to be included in the European Central Bank’s bond buying scheme.
Anti-austerity protesters demonstrate on the streets of Athend
VIOLENCE erupts as Greek farmers clash with police in Athens
Wed, March 8, 2017
Greek farmers clashed with police in central Athens on Wednesday when a protest against tax and pension reforms mandated by the country's multi-billion-euro bailout turned violent
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Farmers with shepherds crooks clash with riot policemen during a protest outside the Greek Agriculture Ministry on March 8, 2017 in Athens
Athens struck a deal with its international creditors a meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Malta on key elements of a reform package that could unlock bailout funds for the country to help it repay maturing debt in July.
Mr Tsipras told Syriza's central committee."Medium-term debt relief measures, able to include us in the ECB's quantitative easing, and a fiscal path that will not be unattainable, is the condition for us to implement the measures we decided.”
He said the compromise reached in Malta would enable his government to also legislate relief measures to tackle poverty, unemployment and build a "social state".
He added: ”I am certain that the difficult decisions we took are ones that in a few years, when we look back at the crucial dilemmas we faced, we will be sure we did the right thing.” T