SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras accused on Wednesday the government of having “surrendered” to Greece’s lenders and of failing to act in the interests of its people following the coalition’s decision not to press for an immediate renegotiation of the country’s bailout terms. Speaking to state-run NET TV, Tsipras said that the government had failed to take advantage of the window of opportunity opened at the European Union leaders’ summit on June 28, when Italy and Spain refused to sign the growth pact unless there was agreement on bank recapitalization via the European Stability Mechanism. “We would have fought the battle at the summit, where the government was absent,” said Tsipras.
“When Spain and Italy use their veto, it is inconceivable for Greece, which has been brought to its knees over the past 2.5 years, not to say a word.”
Tsipras said that the pre-election positions of the three parties in the coalition had proved a myth and that they never carried through with their pledges to renegotiate. He accused the government of having a “clear lack of feeling for patriotic responsibility.”
He added that at Monday’s Eurogroup meeting, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras had simply said what his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble, wanted to hear: that Greece was “not asking for anything.” Tsipras insisted that Greece has to take on the Europeans over the terms of its bailout, even if this risks the eurozone’s collapse. “If the dilemma that is being put to the Greek side is collapse of its economy, society and ensuing social chaos or the collapse of the whole of Europe, we would choose the second,” he said. “This is not blackmail, it is the need for a country and people who have reached the end of their tether to survive.” Tsipras added that he opposed plans to privatize the Public Power Corporation but was in favor of ending special benefits for some public servants. He accused Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of being a hypocrite for attacking SYRIZA as a defender of unfair privileges in the civil service.
Tsipras suggested that as culture minister in 2009, Samaras had provided jobs at the Acropolis Museum for people from his birthplace. “If we were to go to the museum and you checked the IDs of the employees, I bet you would not find anyone who is not from Messenia,” he said. “Those who created clientelistic state cannot now wag their finger at us.”