SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras has said that “life itself” has rejected austerity after a meeting with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble during which the latter reportedly warned the Greek politicians that there is no alternative for Greece to its current fiscal adjustment program.
“I analysed for Mr Schaeuble SYRIZA’s position for exiting the crisis,” said Tsipras after the Berlin meeting, which is said to have lasted an hour rather than the half hour originally planned.
“I told him that austerity programs have failed in Europe and especially in Greece,” added the leftist leader. “The memorandums of austerity have been rejected by life itself. Now, we must face the consequences.”
Tsipras outlined the challenges Greece faces as it enters its sixth consecutive year of recession, with another 12 months of tough austerity ahead.
“We have to face up to the desperation caused by unemployment and the rise of fascism,” he said. “This nightmare cannot return or spread across Europe.”
Tsipras added that it was important for Greece to emerge from the crisis having learned from its mistakes and rid itself of “the social and political establishment that led us to this point.”
Earlier, it was reported that Schaeuble had told Tsipras that Greece had to stick to its current fiscal consolidation program.
"Minister Schaeuble has told Mr Tsipras unequivocally that there is no alternative to the... implementation of the economic adjustment program. Minister Schaeuble urged Mr Tsipras to back the path embarked upon,» a German Finance Ministry source told Reuters.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle’s Greek service over the weekend, Tsipras referred to convincing the German government that there should be a “review” of Greece’s fiscal consolidation program.
Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou identified this as a departure from SYRIZA’s position that it would tear up Greece’s EU-IMF bailout agreement if it came to power.
“Is this the same person that was promising the Greek people he would cancel with one law the memorandum and loan agreement?” said Kedikoglou.