Sunday, 15 July 2012

Tsipras Says More Austerity Coming, Greece Will Quit the Euro

ATHENS – Continuing his non-stop onslaught against pro-austerity Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ coalition, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said the new government will – despite its promises – impose more austerity on weary Greeks and that the country will so disintegrate that Samaras will be forced to beg for Greece to leave the Eurozone of the 17 countries using the euro as a currency.
That is what Samaras said would have happened had SYRIZA won the June 17 elections because Tsipras vowed to renegotiate the terms of bailout deals from international lenders who demanded pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions. Greece is surviving on a first series of $152 billion in rescue loans from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which is holding back a second bailout for $173 billion until the new government starts implementing more reforms and makes another $15 billion in cuts as part of a memorandum agreement.

Tspiras derided the coalition of Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives, the PASOK Socialists of Evangelos Venizelos, a former Finance Minister in a previous shaky hybrid government with Samaras which supported austerity, and the tiny Democratic Left of Fotis Kouvelis, a former Leftist ally whom Tsipras dismissed as an enemy of the people now. Sarcastically poking fun at Kouvelis, Tsipras said he no longer was associated with those he said identify “the memorandum-friendly government program as progressive.”
Even Samaras has come to agree that the austerity measures he supported – and which he previously opposed – have backfired and worsened a five-year-long recession that has created 22.5 percent unemployment, shrunk the economy by 6.7 percent and is closing some 1,000 businesses a week. Samaras had vowed to try to renegotiate the bailout terms but reversed himself as soon as he took office but now says he will try again to talk to the Troika after being pressured by Venizelos and Kouvelis who said he had relented too easily. Greece has been wracked for two years by incessant protests, strikes and riots against austerity and the demonstrations took down a previous PASOK government.
Speaking at a meeting of the European Party Left in Athens, he continued his assault on what he called the “three party memorandum government,” and predicted that another 15 billion euros, or $18.37 billion, in more cuts was being readied by the Samaras government which had vowed to hold the line on austerity.
Tsipras said the accelerated program of privatization that Samaras promised would not work and would sell off Greece’s assets cheaply and lose them forever in a one-time write-down of debt. “The program just doesn’t compute, the equation has no solution and that means that if at the end of the next two years this government has consented to all the unreasonable demands of our creditors, then our already weakened and bankrupt country will voluntarily have to beg to exit the Eurozone,” he said.
He earlier warned that would-be buyers of state property might lose all their money and face criminal proceedings because he believed the privatization was unlawful. He has proposed a moratorium on the payment of the country’s $460 billion debt until the country returns to growth and said SYRIZA will soon lead Greece because he believes the coalition will fall, which most Greeks agreed

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