ATHENS – Reportedly ready to relent on some demands for reforms from international lenders, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is trying to quell a budding rebellion among dissenters in his ruling Radical Left SYRIZA party.
While insisting he won’t back down on “red lines,” and will stick to his campaign promises to reverse austerity, Tsipras – under pressure from the country’s creditors as Greece goes broke – said he’s ready to accept a “viable agreement” that could include some buckling on pensions, which he had vowed not to cut.
Tspiras said he won’t take a deal on “humiliating terms,” but reports emerged that he’s ready to make some concessions, iring the even more radical Left Platform in his disparate party, a faction led by Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis, who has openly defied his leader and refused to go ahead with privatizations that Tsipras campaigned against.
Finishing a busy week of talks with European leaders amid reports Greece would likely default on June 5 unless the troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) releases a delayed 7.2-billion euro ($8 billion) installment, Tsipras addressed SYRIZA to talk about the unsettled deal.
He told them that Greece is “in the final stretch of negotiation,” – disputed by the troika and EU leaders who said an agreement is far off.
Tsipras said he wouldn’t submit to what he called irrational demands on Value-Added Tax (VAT) rates and further labor reform, and called on lenders to make “necessary concessions,” and give Greece money without being forced to implement more harsh austerity measures.
“We have made concessions but we also have red lines,” he said, claiming that some foreign officials were counting on the talks failing – as reportedly were some in SYRIZA said to prefer default and a Eurozone exit even if it leads to the country’s economic collapse.
The talks have turned into a Leftist vs. Rightist battle between rival European ideologies and Tsipras said Capitalist bankers and EU officials are trying to demean SYRIZA and break any chance of a rising challenge against austerity across the region.
Lafazanis and his followers have refused to approve any deal that departs from the party’s pre-election promises to restore pay, cut taxes, hike slashed pensions and rehire fired workers even though there’s no money to do it. The faction has been working on a counter-proposal for alternative sources of funding but hasn’t said what is is.
Tsipras and supporting ministers are working on trying to get a deal in early June before Greece has to make a summer series of loan repayments of more than 2.2 billion euros ($2.42 billion) as tax revenues plummet and the country is locked out of the markets by prohibitively high interest rates.
But as negotiations continue to drag, sources told Kathimerini that the likeliest scenario is a two-stage deal despite Tsipras’s recent insistence on the need for a “comprehensive agreement.”
The two-tier plan would see an initial agreement that would unlock a portion of rescue loans in exchange for some reforms, most likely tax increases, to keep the country solvent. The second would later go after long-delayed reform of the broke pension system and settle whether to restore collective bargaining and the minimum wage.
The post Ready For Reforms, Tsipras Stares Down Rising SYRIZA Revolt appeared first on The National Herald.Source: The National Herald