SYRIZA chief calls for Greek veto

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the main opposition party, anti-bailout SYRIZA, on Saturday called on the new coalition government to veto an agreement by European Union leaders to prop up banks unless Greece is allowed to benefit from it in the same way as Italy and Spain, two much bigger economies with debt problems.

Addressing delegates at the party’s panhellenic summit, Tsipras accused the government of “looking on from afar as Angela Merkel made concessions and not having the essential boldness to ask for Greece to be given the same treatment.” The leftist leader was referring to the German Chancellor’s apparent compromise at last week’s summit, when EU leaders agreed on an ambitious plan to channel cash into troubled banks and reduce borrowing costs for Italy and Spain.

Tsipras accused Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who did not attend last week’s EU summit following eye surgery, of expressing “subservience and servility” in a letter sent to EU leaders reiterating Greece’s commitment to meeting the terms of a 130-billion-euro debt deal, while signifying that some aspects should be tweaked to combat a deepening recession and rising unemployment. The leftist also condemned socialist PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis, the leaders of the other two parties in the coalition, of “doing nothing but ask for the formation of a negotiating team.”

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou, who has accused Tsipras of undermining the government’s efforts to negotiate with creditors, responded to the leftist’s jab on Saturday by saying that “the government will continue to strive to modify those policies that are leading the country into recession and thousands of Greeks into unemployment.” 

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