Stavros Theodorakis, the leader of Potami, met yesterday with the French Finance Minister Michel Sapin. The major issue discussed during the long, constructive and cordial meeting, which lasted more than one and a half hour, was the course of the negotiations between Greece and institutions.
At the end of the meeting, which was the last of several held during his two-day visit to Paris, where he met with Government and Socialist officials, Mr. Theodorakis stated:
“This was a very interesting and long meeting. I am leaving France with the firm belief that Greece is not alone. If we act with common sense and think of Europe as our home, our country will have many allies by its side. But, right now there is a trust issue, because of the constant back and forth by the Greek Government. At this point, when we have reached the final stretch, this problem must be addressed by Mr. Tsipras, so that he can convince our European partners that the Greeks are not flirting with rupture scenarios and that we are here to tackle the major financial problems facing our country, together with our European allies”.
Following his statement, the leader of Potami answered questions by the journalists.
Journalist: During your meeting with Mr. Sapin, did you talk about what happened in Brussels, when Jean-Claude Juncker, Alexis Tsipras and Jeroen Dijsselbloem met?
Stavros Theodorakis: We discussed in detail what has been going on these last months with the negotiations. I cannot say more, because the negotiations are ongoing and things are very critical, so I cannot make statements on TV about these issues. What I can tell you is that there is an alliance in Europe, which can be an alliance in favor of Greece. France, Germany, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, the main factors in any assistance to the country, are well-intentioned towards Greece. The French Finance Minister assured me that it is so, and I have no reason not to believe him. Mr. Sapin gave me specific examples and I think that we must find the right solutions with the help of these people, which cannot happen when some people think that we can be with one foot outside Europe. I think that we lost precious time the first months, even the first weeks of the negotiations, when Europe was very close to giving our country a new opportunity. During that time, incorrect negotiation tactics were applied. I think that even Mr. Tsipras is now well aware of that. But, turning the time back makes no sense. There is still time for the Greek government to convince the European partners that it can make the decisions that will keep the Greeks in the heart of Europe.
Journalist: Are you optimistic that a deal will be reached?
Stavros Theodorakis: It is pretty clear to me, having met with all these French officials, that they are optimistic that Greece will manage to find a solution by the 14th of June. But, there is no more room for delay and this is the main issue. They told me: “You Greeks must hurry up. There is no more time to waste, because you are not alone. There are also parliaments of other countries that must ratify the deal. Therefore, you should make the appropriate decisions as soon as possible”. You realize that they are not talking to me only as the leader of a party, but also as a Greek politician. And, through me, they are sending a message to all Greek politicians, saying that we should all help, so that there can a solution quickly. What the French cannot understand – and let me say that I do not understand it either – is why there is no national strategy. They ask me whether I speak with Mr. Tsipras, whether I am kept informed regarding the negotiations by Mr. Tsipras, and they are surprised when I tell them that we too get to learn about all these matters through whatever is written in the newspapers and internet sites. They keep repeating that "your country has so many problems that we think that there should be a national effort, a national consensus for major issues”.
Meeting Jean-Christophe Cambadélis
“Potami does not accept many things that our partners and creditors demand or reportedly demand,” stated Stavros Theodorakis from Paris, following his meeting with the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis. He also called the government to inform the Greek people and the Greek political world regarding the demands of the Greek Government.
More specifically, he stated:
“Potami does not accept many things that our partners and creditors demand or reportedly demand. But, on the other hand, the government must tell us what it is asking from our partners. Alexis Tsipras must inform the Greek people and the Greek political parties regarding his demands. I am afraid that the solution is not by presenting demands without a plan from Athens, but, certainly, nor by continuing the austerity scenarios of the conservative circles of Europe.
5 June 2015
Photo credit: Theodore Manolopoulos