17 Ιούλιος, 2015

Stavros Theodorakis, in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad: It is hard to implement reforms, when you have always been against reforms

To Potami

The newspaper NRC Handelsblad published an interview Stavros Theodorakis granted to journalist Marloes de Koning, in which the following are mentioned:

The tough laws? They will be voted in Parliament. If Alexis Tsipras’ government cannot pass them, the opposition will guarantee the required majority. “Whether the laws will be implemented or not, this is a whole other issue,” added Stavros Theodorakis. “We are worried about that phase. SYRIZA is not a reformist party. We need a group of people, headed by Alexis Tsipras, that will explain to the people that the reforms are indeed necessary".

In the corridors of the Parliament, it became evident yesterday how difficult it is for the governing coalition to accept the agreement that was reached on Monday. The eyes of the world are now turned toward the Greek Parliament.

The new political party, TO POTAMI, appears in Greece as a strongly pro-European party, to the point that for certain SYRIZA people it is a collaborator of the opposite side. The leader of the party, Stavros Theodorakis, expresses the wish “that things calm down, after months of uncertainty and instability”. He is relieved but not happy with the deal.

“This is a bad deal, but it is a necessary evil. The alternative, out of the European Union, would be hell. The big mistake of the Prime Minister is that he should have concluded the deal with Europe much earlier. When you run out of time, it is easier for others to blackmail you. At that point, there is not enough time to make good decisions”.

Given the rhetoric of the past months, do you believe that the reforms called by the agreement will be really implemented?

Most Ministers of Tsipras are allergic to the words “reform” and “change”. I hope that the turning point will be a message by Mr. Tsipras to his Ministers to change. It is hard to implement reforms, when you have always been against reforms. That is why I believe that Tsipras must reshuffle his government. Even within SYRIZA there are forces in favor of reforms and Europe. These are the forces that must be promoted. The most conservative comrades must be replaced.

How must the new government be formed? With a new coalition?

Mr. Tsipras must answer this question. Potami has no intention to join the SYRIZA – ANEL coalition. We want Mr. Tsipras as Prime Minister. We will offer him proposals, both regarding people and solutions. But, Potami will remain an opposition party. We will be the progressive, rational, pro-European force that will oppose any conservative actions by the government.

These are crucial moments for the country. Why will you not try to co-govern?

The Greek people gave SYRIZA the mandate to govern. We must be realistic. We are a party that received 6% of the vote. In my opinion, our influence is more than that percentage, but it is Alexis Tsipras that was elected. So, he is the one to decide how the country will function.

Tsipras claims that he is in a better position than previous governments to tackle corruption, because he has no personal business interests. Do you believe him?

No Greek politician will ever admit that he is serving business or other interests. What matters is his actions. The policies that he implements is the proof. SYRIZA must prove that it is willing to disappoint some of the corporatives, that it wants equal opportunities in the economy. So far, they have not done it. Talk is easy. In Greece, we have resolved all our problems at the level of talk.

What do you expect from the voting?

I told several times to Tsipras, who listens with a certain delay, that there is a large pro-European majority in Parliament. Many MPs, from all political parties, see this as the last chance for Greece. This is why I am not worried about this vote, or the next one. But, what worries me is the organization within the party of SYRIZA and within the state. All this negativity that exists in our country. I am afraid that they might present the image that reforms are being implemented, without making the real changes that would benefit the majority in Greece.

16 July 2015

Photo credit: Theodore Manolopoulos

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