Repeating a four-year-long mantra, Greece’s major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras in an interview with an Italian newspaper said austerity isn’t working.
He told La Stampa that, “Tight fiscal policies and austerity are not only wrong, but also dangerous. After five years, rather than extinct, the crisis has multiplied. And now we are in danger of global economic recession.”
“Greece is responsible, but the most violent program ever adopted in Europe was implemented in my country,” Tsipras stressed, adding that “the GDP fell by 25 percent in four years, the registered unemployment is at 28 percent and the public debt rose from 126 percent to 175 percent, which is unacceptable for a European country.”
“No country can have a debt that is almost twice its GDP, because the repayment of interest rates crushes any possibility of development,” the SYRIZA leader said.
He said the crisis, resulting from generations of wild overspending and runaway patronage by the ruling New Democracy Conservatives and its partner the PASOK Socialists, “is not a problem of Greece, Italy or Spain, but a structural problem. If we understand this, we will also understand that we should deal with it in a political way and render Europe more democratic: 27 member states are discussing today, but it is Merkel that decides.”
He was referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is the biggest contributor to 240 billion euros ($317 billion) in two bailouts from international lenders, but who insisted on big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings in return.
Tsipras also stated that “the role of the European Investment Bank must be strengthened” while stressing the need for “technological upgrade that will not cut jobs but create new ones and increasing public investments.”