Greek PM Tsipras Interview: “A Bad Deal Was My Only Option to Save Greece”



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“It is a bad deal, but there is no better option” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said, referring to the agreement he worked out with Greece’s creditors at a 17-hour long Euro Summit.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gave an extensive interview to the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday evening, defending the deal he agreed to on Monday in Brussels while conceding its negative aspects and assuring the public that he has no intention to resign.

“I take on the responsibility of signing a document I don’t believe in,” he said about the agreement.

He admitted that the measures that are included in this deal will be hard for Greeks but noted that it is overall better than the one Greeks turned down in the July 5 referendum. The new program has a three year and not a five month duration, while it also guarantees a very substantial sum of money, according to Tsipras.

The Greek prime minister appeared shocked by the behaviour of his European counterparts during the negotiations and admitted that while he fought to the last breath, he was not able to get everything he wanted.

“The result of the Euro Summit and the Eurogroup was the result of a strong pressure on a country, which had democratically expressed itself, to satisfy the more financially powerful countries in Europe. That is the truth,” he said.

The Greek premier said negotiations in Brussels were very tough but also recognised the support of France, Cyprus, Austria and Italy who was Greece’s most passionate defender.

Ultimately Tsipras believes this deal, if it is finalised, will help Greece leave the crisis behind and reenter a path of growth. According to Tsipras the three main benefits of this deal are that it will cover Greece’s short term needs, including the recapitalization of banks, it will give 35 billion euros for investment and it includes a commitment for debt restructuring in the future.

Tsipras also claims he was first informed about the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Scheauble’s plan for a temporary Grexit in March or April. However, during a follow up conversation on the matter with German Chancellor Angela Merkel he was assured there was no such intention.

Greece’s premier spoke for over an hour to ERT’s reporters and said that when he met with prominent foreign leaders from the United States, Russia and China none of them told him to leave the Euro, or offer financial assistance to Greece.

“I never had a plan B” the Greek prime minister said and added that adopting the Drachma would have devastating effects on Greece and particularly the poor.

Although Greek banks will remain closed until Monday according to Economy Minister George Stathakis, Tsipras expressed his confidence that they will reopen once liquidity to Greece is resumed form the European Central Bank. The Eurogroup has been working on possible solutions to greenlight an increase of ELA to Greece.

Tsipras noted that it is not in his party’s and his own culture to remove dissidents from the party, but argued that everybody will be judged by their actions. The Greek prime minister and SYIRZA leader is facing a serious rift within his SYRIZA party with many lawmakers saying that they will vote against legislation for the bailout deal.

“The safety of ideological pureness is not compatible with moments of crisis,” he said.

The prime minister declared that he would not join a coalition government with To Potami and New Democracy, which have expressed support for the deal. He also noted that there is no need for general elections as long as he has the support the Greek parliament members.

He further discussed Greece former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, whom he called an excellent economist and a great person.

“There is no doubt he made mistakes,” said the Greek PM about Varoufakis and revealed that the two men are still good friends and talk often on the phone.

“If someone is a great economist and a great person, that does not mean that they are a good politician” the prime minister further commented.

On the other hand Tsipras praised his coalition partner and Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos for his support. Tsipras said that while they come from completely ideological and political backgrounds, they have built a very close relationship Kammenos has always stood by the prime minister’s effort.

“He has his own parliamentary group, he will make the decisions he needs to make,” the prime minister said.

Kammenos has voiced his dissatisfaction with the deal but also said he will support the prime minister’s efforts.

Tsipras’s next battle will come when the deal will have to pass through the Greek Parliament.


13 COMMENTS

  1. When we are at the crossroads and roads are of equal hardships, the best road is a road that is of our own character.
    An outcome of eternal salvation is better than eternal damnation… Therefore we choose God exists and follow our own religious path.
    Financially whether its the Drachma, is part of the solution. What was it like before the Euro currency? Do we want to slave ourselves to our World War 1 and 2 tormentors?
    Themistocles, Leonidas, Alexander resisted temptation as did Jesus during his time facing evil.
    After war… where there is peace there is growth… but at what expense. Now days its technological weapons that rule, not swords and shields. Do Greeks have weapons to defend themselves and progress?

  2. Greece was sold out by another prime minister who would not stand up to interests against Greece.

  3. Tsipiras wife/partner promised to leave him if he signed a bad deal. I wonder if she will keep her promise?

  4. [Greece forecast – I hope it is wrong]

    If the agreement is passed – my imprecise forecast: It would delay 4-5 years for debt crisis; Greek state assets of 50 billion euro would be sold out brutally (firmly) by Germany for repaying debt. More protests, assets price will be lower; then more assets need to be sold.

    Greek currency is still overvalued seriously, manufacturing industry, service industry and agriculture are still losing competitiveness. So Greece would have another 3-5 years recession and terrible high unemployment. Now the “real” per capita income of Greece is similar to Guangdong province, Fujian province, Malaysia, Turkey,
    Mexico and Brazil.

    5 years later, Guangdong province and Fujian province will have largest progress, and will be quite rich. Per capita income of Malaysia, Turkey, Mexico and Brazil would be 1.2-1.3 times than Greece; because Greek currency is overvalued (lost competitiveness) and too many protests and strikes (by austerity, which group should suffer by austerity?) for 5 years.

    4-5 years later Greece debt crisis will break out again, her debt is still about 280 billion euro, she cannot repay debt, (and had lost 50 billion state assets), so would be “expelled” politely from Eurozone. Eurozone countries will do charity (write off) 1.9 billion euro to Greece, and encourage world to do donation for Greece.

    I hope my forecast is wrong. Gods and goddesses bless Greece.

  5. Then why did Tsipras lie to us in January saying he would be able to get a better deal? he constatly lambasted the previous government for the deal they signed and Tsipras has signed an even worse deal – the man is a frieking lieing idiot! he has no integrity at all – he should have resigned when he knew he could not accept the deal, instead he wants to hang on to the prime minister-ship and his salary

  6. i figure she is just as big a liar as Tsipras is, they like living off the Prime Minister’s salary while the rest of us suffer and will continue to lie to get that salary

  7. He could not get any better deal. What I see there will be moderate tax increase and some public utilities will be privatised. Perhaps some of the government corruption will be curtailed. I see the Brussels negotiation as a comedy that hardly changed anything. Greece will pay nothing or almost nothing and collect more money from EU. The so called crisis was so timed that French President could collect ovation on Bastille day 14 July. The big European project of Close Integration is back on track.

  8. What were his options at this point? The interests of the Greeks would have been better served if he would have seriously negotiated a few months ago instead of maintaining a hardline with no backup plan. They were on their own outside of humanity efforts if they refused this deal. The Greeks spent way more than they had and let their citizens live lifestyles they had not earned. Govt’s can’t keep these types of promises when the money runs out, and it always will…….unless of course they can print money and keep interest rates artificially low like the US – but that can’t work forever.

  9. Ask the Greeks who voted for him. Did any of them ask him what his plan was or did they just like the idea of him telling his partners and creditors to take a hike? If someone ran for US President and promised to eliminate all forms of taxes and cut gov’t spending by 50%, that would sound great – but I’d need to know his plan before he’d get my vote. Greek voters did know what Tsipras plan was if his partners and creditors said no, right? Tell me they did not just vote for him on rhetoric.

  10. I say it as a reminder because those that supported him were too mentally lazy to say
    it enough. They act like they are “moderate” left… then voted for a
    Marxist.

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