European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said today that Athens should stop worrying about a “diabolical plan” cooked up by Spain and Portugal to topple the country’s new leftist-led government. The statement came just a few hours after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ allegations that the two countries have formed a front aiming to undermine the negotiations held between Athens and Brussels.
“During the last two weeks, I have not observed that Portugal and Spain had a diabolical plan to cause Tsipras’ government to fall,” Juncker stressed while addressing a news conference at an energy summit in Madrid, adding that “if I had the impression that they harbored such detestable plans, I would have intervened.”
Earlier, Madrid and Lisbon have filed a formal complaint to the European Commission over the Greek Premier’s comments, who linked the pressure applied by Spain and Portugal during the four-month bailout extension negotiations to blackmail. On Saturday, while addressing the SYRIZA Central Committee, Tsipras said Greece came up against “an axis of powers led by Spain and Portugal” that tried to undermine the negotiation process for their own internal political gains. “Conservative forces tried to set a trap for us, to drive us into financial asphyxia,” he said.
Podemos’ unending rise worries conservative Spanish government ahead of elections
It should be noted that Spanish leftist movement Podemos shares similarities with Greek SYRIZA, as they both saw their influence skyrocket during a period of tough austerity imposed on the European South countries. Its leader, Pablo Iglesias, has repeatedly visited Greece and declared his support to Tsipras. According to the latest Spanish opinion polls, Podemos holds a clear lead over the country’s two traditional political powers, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and the People’s Party (PP), while in the previous European Parliament elections it secured five seats with an anti-austerity pre-electoin rhetoric. The next Spanish general election will be most likely held on December 20.