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Antonis Samaras: scenarios for a new government are a political anomaly

15 December 2013 / 14:12:03  GRReporter
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- It seems that Tsipras is dreaming about how this government will be overthrown at any cost. However, this is not happening... He has announced this many times so far: he should have overthrown us by the spring. He failed. Afterwards, this should have happened in the early summer. Again, he did not do it... Later, it should have happened in the autumn. He even announced a rebellion of schools and universities. This still did not work, either. And now - the European elections... It would be better if he tried to find an alternative for the country. Because he still hasn’t found one... And only afterwards he should see how he will convince his party. Because he seems not to have convinced them so far. The problem with Mr Tsipras is that in order to approach the government, he should abandon populism. But if he tried to do so, he would lose his party! This is the epitome of populism and irresponsibility. And he neither wants it, nor can he do it. I wish things were different...

- Given that in 2015 there will be presidential elections, wouldn’t it be appropriate to carry out triple elections next May?

- We should learn that elections are held every four years in Greece! The first signs of the exit from the crisis will be seen in the first half of 2014. Why do we need to rush to elections when we have seen only "the first signs"? Why not hold them in the normal way when the country's exit from the crisis will be completed in 2016? And when the country will stand on its own two feet, in March 2015, who would dare to trigger elections and risk breaking this course? You know, elections are a prerequisite for normality, when they are properly held, i.e. every four years. When they are extraordinary, this is a symptom of a crisis. And when they are constantly extraordinary, it is a factor of crisis. In May - June 2012, we had to stop the continuing decline in the country. We did it in 17 months! Now the rise has begun. And we have to finish it smoothly. This will be indicative not only of "the next day", but of the coming decades. Do you think that I do not see that it would be advantageous to have triple elections from the point of view of the party? But it is beneficial for the country to exit the crisis completely. And this is the greatest priority for me.

- What do you think is the biggest enemy today?

- Populism! This is always true, but particularly in difficult times like now. And people are going to be bombarded with "stories of fear" which are constantly refuted, such as the story that the main housing of the poor and unemployed will be auctioned. It was refuted, but returned shortly after. And another one -that they will confiscate property. But the new property tax reduces the tax for most taxpayers. And yet another one... taxed deposits! At a time when all recognise that the Greek banking system, following its recapitalisation, is protected in the best way. A year ago we were blamed for not hitting evasion. Now, we have expanded the tax base, which is a prerequisite for a strike against tax evasion. And we are blamed again... Not long ago, we were blamed for the recapitalisation of the banking system. But we did it in order to protect deposits and restore liquidity. And now we are being blamed because deposits are in danger! Who blames us? Those who blamed us in the past, when we defended the system. Our biggest enemy is the daily lie, which attacks citizens and poisons society. Remember, however, that lies have short legs.

"We insist that the decision for a further reduction of the debt should be made in the spring"

- It seems that the final decisions on the Greek debt will be made after the European elections. Given that the primary surplus for Greece will be confirmed in April, wouldn’t it be economically and politically unwise if decisions were delayed? Could this be changed?

- Yes, and that's why we insist that the decision for a further reduction of our debt should be made in the spring, as soon as they formalise the amount of the surplus. At the same time, the ways for the reduction of our debt can be decided on immediately thereafter. But the decision must be made in the spring. I believe that our partners accept this...

- If necessary, will you sign a third Memorandum in order to cover the country’s funding?

- Memoranda are signed when an agreement starts or is being revised. In our case, we have the full implementation of the second agreement. We are fulfilling the objectives of the programme and implementing the requirements for each step... Additional support is provided by the agreement, so we do not have to sign a new Memorandum. Therefore, nobody wants a new agreement, neither we (because it will mean new conditions), nor our creditors (because they have to be passed again in Parliament, which is not easy). Thus, we are talking about the implementation of the existing agreement, with the same programme, and not about a new agreement with new terms.

Taxes have brought citizens to their knees this year

- Mr Stournaras has recently denied that there is over-taxation in Greece and provoked many reactions. What is your comment?

Tags: Antonis Samaras interview political scenarios elections
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