SYRIZA leader says disorderly default an option

The debt crisis is not a Greek problem but a European problem and Greece should consider a disorderly default said the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), Alexis Tsipras, speaking to Skai TV on Tuesday. "If we are led to a disorderly default, there will be a problem for the banking system, wages and pensions but it won't just be Greece that will have problems,» he said. According to Tsipras a Greek default would cost Germany alone some 500 billion euros. Calling Greece a “scapegoat” and referring to the troika as “dangerous,” Tsipras criticized Greek officials negotiating with the country’s partners and creditors with regard to the Greek debt for failing to conduct tough negotiations at a summit level. Instead, said Tsipras, they were reduced to working out conditions with the troika’s “second rate employees.”

SYRIZA is not participating in the interim government led by Lucas Papademos. Tsipras noted that the issue is to make the Greek debt manageable by focusing on growth policies and wealth redistribution and move away from austerity measures. He added that SYRIZA had suggested a selective haircut for the Greek debt that would not include the participation of social security funds, for instance.

One solution to the current crisis, said the SYRIZA leader, would be to allow Greece not to pay annual interest rates of 17 billion euros on its debt for a period of three-years and use the money for growth strategy instead. Citing the example of Germany, Tsipras said that in 1953 the country had been granted a 62 percent haircut on its debt in a deal which was based on growth clauses.

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