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Euroscepticism will soon prevail in Greece

03 April 2013 / 20:04:17  GRReporter
3463 reads

Victoria Mindova

Anti-European sentiment that is rising not only in Greece but also in other European Union countries is a logical consequence of the mismanagement of the debt crisis. This is the opinion of the leader of the parliamentary opposition SYRIZA party, Alexis Tsipras, commenting on the latest developments in Greece and Cyprus at a press conference. Tsipras states that Greece will soon be against the euro as a currency if cuts in pensions and salaries, and the policy of fiscal consolidation continue. He believes that if Brussels and the individual governments do not make a sharp turn in the policy pursued at present, the people themselves will reject the conception of united Europe.

"Until recently, the European Union inspired a sense of trust, security, prosperity, opportunity for development and economic growth. Now, these nice definitions are replaced by others, namely fear and uncertainty. The risk of failure does not affect Greece alone. It affects almost all countries of the European south," Tsipras insists, adding that the recent developments in Cyprus have shaken two main beliefs in Greek society. One of them relates to security of deposits and the other relates to national security. "Euroscepticism will prevail in the near future and it will be well grounded," states the opposition leader.

Despite the statements associated with Euroscepticism, Alexis Tsipras insists that SYRIZA still wants Greece’s rescue within the euro zone. The radical left is preparing to become the leading political force that will soon take over the country. Its members provide that today's tripartite coalition government will not complete its full term until 2016.

"We are not planning to artificially provoke early elections. They will come under the pressure of popular discontent," says Tsipras. He is clear that when SYRIZA comes to power, its government will not humbly obey the wishes of the international lenders who grant the financial assistance to the country. "We will not fall victims of extortion like the previous governments," Tsipras shares with determination.

The leader of the radical left points out that there are three key conditions to allow his party to succeed. One of them is the full support of the people. The second is the government’s determination not to succumb to pressure. The third is that the government find powerful allies in trying to renegotiate the rescue programme.

"Cyprus’ attempt had failed because only one of these conditions was present, namely the support of the people. The government was not determined to withstand and it did not have strategic allies to support its position (Russia did not help)." Tsipras explained that he had been travelling around the world over the past few months precisely for that reason. He said that the aim of all his trips to Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, USA, France and Germany was to find strategic support, which would allow changing the European policy. It is not clear whether he has found it.

Alexis Tsipras and his close circle do not hide their ambitions to come to power after the next elections. On the contrary, they openly declare that they want to do so and are determined to do everything possible to expand their electoral circle. Although Tsipras himself continues to insist that Greece’s rescue should be completed within the euro zone, he is not convincing. The possibility of Greece returning to the drachma if the talks with the foreign lenders fail can become reality when SYRIZA takes power. "Salvation of Greece at any cost," says Tsipras and adds, "Not salvation of the euro as a currency at any cost."

The political programme of SYRIZA completely rejects the option of privatizations. Their main argument now is that three years after the signing of the Memorandum of financial assistance, the value of public assets has decreased five times. In 2010, the lenders evaluated the public property offered for privatization at 50 billion euro. Now, its value according to the latest report of the supervisory Troika is 9.8 billion euro.

SYRIZA’s political and ideological opponents comment that for that very reason, the privatization should have been triggered when the programme was announced, which would not have allowed the opposition to establish now a tragic fact (the devaluation of public assets), to which they themselves have contributed a lot.

The left wing insists that the state should control the banking system as well. It also states that since the recapitalization of banks is carried out with money that increases the public debt, the financial system must be managed by the state. The plan that SYRIZA will complete if it takes power and that Tsipras has presented to journalists is that it will recapitalize the banks, then it will nationalize them and finally, after an audit, it will cancel part of the debts of households that are unable to repay their obligations to financial institutions. In the hall, where the conference took place, this statement arose the approval of the supporters of the party and undisguised scepticism in the majority of journalists.

Alexis Tsipras’ confidence that he will soon be able to fight for a larger share of the vote is based on the instability, which is now being felt in the coalition cabinet. Antonis Samaras’ government began operating with 179 deputies. Today, they number 165 as stressed by the party leader. The Prime Minister will not be able to push new measures as expected because of the failure of the programme. This will inevitably result in a split. "They cannot increase the taxes of people who can no longer pay their debts to the state. Youth unemployment will soon approach 60%. What will the tripartite government do then?" asked rhetorically Tsipras, who is preparing himself to become the next Prime Minister of Greece.



Tags: PoliticsSocietySYRIZAAlexis TsiprasGreeceCrisisRadical leftFailure
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