The newly elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appeared satisfied with the European Union summit’s outcome, saying it was positive for Greece. As he further highlighted in a press conference held today in Brussels, the SYRIZA-led Greek government is ready to implement all of the agreement it reached with its European and international partners, noting that there is absolutely no problem with the country’s short-term liquidity.
At the same time, he underlined that his government will not take any further recessionary measures, as it will implement its own list of reforms and that there will not be a fifth review of the previous program either. Mr. Tsipras also stressed the importance of an urgent implementation of those agreed at a European level, while having put February accord back on track, the government can now move fast to decisions that will resolve funding problems. Moreover, he re-assured the country’s partners that the Greek government is still aiming for a primary surplus of 1% to 1.5% of its GDP this year, stressing at the same time the wide support his government is enjoying within Greece.
Referring to the previous governments the Greek Premier said they were tied to vested interests, while the current one is only accountable to the Greek people, admitting though its lack of experience, but despite that “we have been negotiating effectively. We are open to receiving advice and so on, but we have our own opinions,” he characteristically said. He also criticized those trying to undermine the February 20 Eurogroup agreement: “We cannot accept people trying to terrorize the Greek people,” he declared, while unflatteringly mentioning the comments by Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that capital controls like those used in Cyprus could be enforced in the Greek case too. On the other hand, commenting on the recent summit, he estimated that common understanding and an opportunity to build up a relationship and restore confidence was clearly in place.
Additionally, he did not avoid commenting on the suggestions that the Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was the source of all problems, brushing off such suggestions, declaring that this is not a clash between Greece and Germany but rather a European issue. “I cannot say to Chancellor Merkel you should change your ministers, it is a sovereign issue,” he bitterly said.
Referring to Greece’s long standing tax evasion problem, Mr. Tsipras said there was a total of two billion euros of which he believes 800 million is accessible. “Next week we will welcome a minister from Switzerland to have a discussion about the Greek depositors and to get an agreement,” he declared in what is seen as a response to various reports that the current Greek government, as well as the previous ones, closed its eyes to the untaxed Greek citizens’ deposits in Swiss banks.
Finally, the Greek Prime Minister emphasized that he is not opposing privatizations but the conditions under which they were being supported and noted they would help spur jobs and growth.