Keyword: Alexis Tsipras
'We underestimated their power': Greek government insider lifts the lid on five months of 'humiliation' and 'blackmail'
In this interview with Mediapart, a senior advisor to the Greek government, who has been at the heart of the past five months of negotiations between Athens and its international creditors, reveals the details of what resembles a game of liar’s dice over the fate of a nation that has been brought to its economic and social knees. His account gives a rare and disturbing insight into the process which has led up to this week’s make-or-break deadline for reaching a bailout deal between Greece and international lenders, without which the country faces crashing out of the euro and complete bankruptcy. He describes the extraordinary bullying of Greece’s radical-left government by the creditors, including Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s direct threat to cause the collapse of the Hellenic banks if it failed to sign-up to a drastic austerity programme. “We went into a war thinking we had the same weapons as them”, he says. “We underestimated their power”.
François Hollande, speaking alongside German chancellor Angela Merkel after talks about Greek crisis, said: 'The door is open for discussion'.
French president François Hollande is to meet German chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris on Monday in a crucial meeting a day after the Greek people voted massively to reject the terms of the latest bailout terms for Greece. Official reaction from the French government to the unexpectedly clear-cut nature of the 'no' vote in Greece, where more than 60% of those who voted backed the stance of prime minister Alexis Tsipras and the Syriza government, was muted. But many politicians on the Left in France – and some on the far-right too – greeted the news as a victory for democracy over EU and IMF-imposed austerity. Mediapart reports on the reaction in France to the Greek referendum vote.
Public opinion split evenly over role of Greece's prime minister but majority of French back right of Greeks to have referendum on bailout terms.
Greece has been summoned by its international creditors to present a package of spending reforms by Monday evening that must be approved before a final decision is taken on whether to give Athens a crucial four-month extension of debt bailout loans. Despite the new Greek government’s earlier concessions towards austerity measures which it initially rejected, the country’s lenders, and above all Germany, appear intent on squeezing more political blood from the radical-left administration. But beyond the struggle to obtain the immediate financial lifeline, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is in for a long haul of future negotiations. Key to these is his demand that Germany recognise its massive debt to Greece in reparations of its wartime occupation of the country, and the repayment of a loan the Nazis imposed on Greece. The potential sums of these are staggering, and have been estimated, at the least, as represnting more than 160 billion euros - before interest. The issue is not only a financial one, but also embarrasses Berlin and Brussels by raking over the generous debt-forgiveness deal offered to Germany in 1953 in the name of European reconstruction. Mediapart Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant and former Athens correspondent Amélie Poinssot examine the legal arguments, and the evidence, behind the Greek claim.
President Hollande agreed that Europe needed to spur more growth – but said that Greece also had to abide by EU rules and obligations.
But French officials say that new Athens government could be offered more time to pay off its debts if its reforms stay on track.
Sections of the Left in France greeted Syriza's triumph in the Greek elections on Sunday with great enthusiasm, with some hailing it as an “historic moment”. But the success of the Greek party, which unites various left-wing groups, has also highlighted the continuing divisions on the Left in France and its own failure to create a lasting electoral coalition. At the same time the challenges facing the new Syriza government, which is seeking to end austerity and renegotiate its debt burden with the EU and international bodies, underline the problems facing any left-wing administration in Europe. A key question is whether France's own socialist president, François Hollande, will now seize the opportunity to change economic direction and push the EU and Germany to back more growth-oriented policies. First, Mediapart's Stéphane Alliès, in Paris, examines how the French Left will react to the Greek results, then Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant wonders whether any truly left-wing policies can be carried out by national governments under current eurozone rules.
President Hollande says he wants to continue the 'close' cooperation between France and Greece in favour of 'growth' and euro zone 'stability'.
European elections special: where the candidates to head the EU Commission stand on the controversial transatlantic trade treaty
The free trade treaty currently being hammered out between the European Union and the United States is a major issue in this week’s elections of members of the European Parliament, which in France will be held on Sunday. For this year also sees the departure of EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso, and for the first time the new head of this key EU body will be appointed from the political grouping that does best in this week’s continent-wide elections. Here, Mediapart's Brussels correspondent Ludovic Lamant questions all of the parties’ declared candidates for the post of Commission president - Martin Schulz, Guy Verhofstadt, Alexis Tsipras, José Bové and Jean-Claude Juncker – and hears their conflicting views on the transatlantic free trade deal.
Greek radical-left leader Alexis Tsipras told a news conference in Paris that Europe must focus on policies based on social cohesion and solidarity.
Alexis Tsipras (pictured) is the leader of the Greek parliamentary radical-left coalition group Syriza. Following the collapse in support for the former governing Greek socialist party Pasok, vilified by its electorate for its unpopular austerity measures introduced amid the Greek debt crisis, the coalition is now facing its greatest electoral challenge - and opportunity - since it was founded in 2004. In this interview with Amélie Poinssot, Tsipras details his alternative vision of how Greece can emerge from the crisis, but also the problems posed by a legacy of division among the country's parties of the Left.