A new tell-all book by former French leader Francois Hollande has claimed Greece’s 2015 referendum on accepting harsh bailout conditions was won without the country’s leader knowing what to do with the mandate it gave him.
In his 400-page book Lessons on Power, Hollande claims to have told Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after the vote “you won, but Greece lost”.
Greeks voted by over 60 percent to say no to more austerity measures being demanded by international creditors.
At the time Tsipras was quoted as saying: “I call on you to say a big ‘no’ to ultimatums, ‘no’ to blackmail.
“Turn your back on those who would terrorise you.”
However, a week later – as Greek banks remained closed – the Athens government signed up to the demanded measures on corporate tax, VAT, privatisations and public-sector pay cuts.
Now Hollande writes the 2015 referendum – called during bailout negotiations with no warning given to the Eurogroup – strengthened the hand of those in the EU who wanted to see Greece crash out of the eurozone.
Hollande also takes a swipe at his successor, Emmanuel Macron, who broke from Hollande to form his own centrist party and is now facing prolonged labor disputes from disgruntled French unions.