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SYRIZA’s programme and ideology cannot combine with the euro

07 July 2015 / 20:07:09  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

Two days after the referendum, in which the No option won over 60% of the votes, Greece’s new Minister of Finance Efklidis Tsakalotos attended the Eurogroup meeting without any proposals from Athens. According to the euro zone representatives, they will be presented tomorrow. President of Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem confirmed the information in statements after the meeting of the council, adding that another teleconference meeting of euro zone finance ministers will take place tomorrow.

Delaying the negotiations is a constant tactic of the Greek cabinet, which continues despite the change in the person of the Minister of Finance. Today's developments are increasing the concerns about Grexit and so are the firm statements of European officials that there could be an agreement with Greece only if it presented credible proposals. Such is the opinion of Greek writer and political commentator Sakis Moumtzis who presents it in an interview with GRReporter.

Mr. Moumtzis, Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis resigned yesterday. Do you think replacing him with Efklidis Tsakalotos could change the dynamics of negotiations?

I do not think it could change the dynamics of negotiations. The framework is already so narrow that individuals are playing no role. Taking such action two months ago probably would have made sense. In fact, Varoufakis was withdrawn as head of the negotiations at that time.

I think Alexis Tsipras has sacrificed Varoufakis to be able to use this step as an argument before the people, "You see, I have satisfied their desire to sacrifice my minister but they have not bowed down and continue to insist on having things their way". It was just a tactical move by Tsipras.

What is your feeling about the outcome of negotiations? What should we expect?

Taking into account their course over the past five months until the referendum on Sunday, I do not think we have a reason to expect anything significant. There is a huge difference in the positions of both sides. The European partners are tired of Greece and they are not willing to deal with it. The new programme that has been drawn up is particularly expensive for them and their citizens. Therefore, I think their decision is to remove us from the euro zone. This will happen gradually, with a parallel currency to the euro at first, which will become permanent over time.

My opinion is that precisely this is the purpose of Alexis Tsipras and SYRIZA. They have wanted to reinstate the drachma from the very beginning. Their programme and ideology cannot combine with the euro. The expansionary policy, the inflated state sector and everything else that a Marxist party preaches cannot combine with the rules in the euro zone. They have worked for the return to the national currency from the beginning and they keep on working in that direction.

We know that SYRIZA is not a homogenous mass. It has more moderate and very radical movements such as the Left Platform headed by Minister of Energy Panagiotis Lafazanis. Is it possible for them to succumb and support the difficult measures?

The referendum result shows a complete dominance of Lafazanis’ position. 61.31% of Greeks state they do not want more budget measures and so does Lafazanis.

The position of pro-European parties that the voting was actually a choice between the euro and the drachma failed to convince voters. Since the majority has stated that it does not want any measures, Tsipras cannot bring such from Brussels. How could he push them through the parliamentary group or the central committee of SYRIZA? His own supporters would chase him. There is no chance of this happening.

We are currently witnessing a theatrical performance on the part of both the creditors and SYRIZA. Both sides know how it will end. Just the game should be played that way.

I know I am a bit cynical and cold, but that is my opinion of SYRIZA, from the moment it won the elections in January. The events confirm it too.

Would SYRIZA’s coalition partner Independent Greeks support such measures and to what extent?

Its position does not differ from that of SYRIZA. They just do not understand what is awaiting them.

I believe the following scenario will take place: at some point, when Tsipras finds out that things have come to a total impasse he will appear before President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and will resign and call elections in order to win the majority of votes. In view of the present state of the opposition, it will not be at all difficult. Then he will decide whether to form a coalition with Independent Greeks or The River (Potami) or establish a separate office. According to this scenario, there will be early elections in mid-August.

Under these conditions, how do you see the future of the country?

It is dramatic. Even assuming that an agreement is reached and the parliament approves the difficult measures, from what people can the additional 5 billion euro be taken? Who will pay? I am saying that we are in a deadlock precisely for that reason. The creditors are adamant, they are not seeing what is happening in Greece and they are following their programme. If serious negotiations had begun in the first days after the elections in January, the situation would have been very different. However, under today's conditions, it is not possible for the Greeks to pay budgetary measures worth 5 billion euro.

The government could avoid imposing taxes, it could conduct reforms.

Who is for reforms? New Democracy did not even implement them, although it spoke in their favour for years.

Tags: PoliticsSYRIZAReferendumNegotiations with creditorsExit from the euro zone Return to the drachmaAlexis Tsipras
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