“Mistakes were made in the panic of the Memorandum. These mistakes are now being repeated,” stated Stavros Theodorakis, in an interview with Maria Choukli, hostess of the main news bulletin of Ant1 TV. Mr. Theodorakis stated, “I do not care at all about the red lines of SYRIZA. I care about the red lines of the Society”.
Below are excerpts from the interview:
I suggested that Mr. Tsipras should talk to Jean-Claude Juncker. Mr. Juncker is a friend of Greece. He told me that he can ensure that Greece gets 35 billion in new funding by 2020. This is not Memorandum money. This is a way to reach a 3% growth in the country.
SYRIZA has adopted a totally different marketing policy in Greece, compared with the one followed abroad. I don’t think that Europeans have actually requested cuts in minimum pensions. They requested cutting down high pensions, meaning cutting down pensions higher that 2.500 euros. They also requested abolishing early retirement schemes.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that negotiations have just begun. Why these negotiations, as far as the social insurance system is concerned, did not occur in February or March?
The government is acting rebellious, in a period when we are running out of time. It is playing at the limits. I do not care about the red lines of SYRIZA. I care about the red lines of Society. Development and social justice are the real red lines. And, there will never be social justice, if there is no money in the economy.
For a part of SYRIZA, as well as for some people close to Alexis Tsipras, bankruptcy and drachma do not seem to be such a terrible scenario. We are clear when it comes to this. Bankruptcy and a return to the drachma will be a disaster for the country. Mr. Tsipras must tell this to the members of his ministerial council and to all those flirting with bankruptcy scenarios.
Of course, Europe has made mistakes. There have been crimes against parts of the Greek society. Mistakes were made in the panic of the Memorandum. Not repeating the mistakes of the past and not staying stagnant. This is the challenge right now. I think that five months of stagnation are too many. There are times when we are walking the tightrope. But, throughout history, there have been many accidents, due to the wrong tactics.
Europeans must also realize that Greece is indispensable to them. In the first months, there was enthusiasm about Alexis Tsipras. People said that something new is coming, something that will also bring change. This was the atmosphere, because everyone was sick and tired of the old political parties. Yet, today Europeans are disappointed. They say that they no longer trust the government at all.
No path will be easy. The path of a workable compromise will not be easy. We must all try to make the best we can for the country. But, playing at the edge of the cliff may drive us all the way down. There are countries that are now asking for the exit of Greece from the Eurozone. Insulting Mr. Juncker in Parliament is not a solution to the problem. Zoe Konstantopoulou, President of the Hellenic Parliament, cannot be speaking about Mr. Juncker as if he were an insignificant politician, saying that he introduces laws in order to cover tax evasion and that he is responsible for the Greeks’ tax evasion. Mrs. Konstantopoulou had the gall to tell us that Mr. Juncker is to blame for tax evasion in Greece!
It is pretty clear what SYRIZA says. If there is no deal by the end of the month, we will not repay the IMF. How would Europe react to such a scenario? This is of minor importance for the government. But, for us, this a major issue.
We will not be part of a government that includes extremists like the ones that participate in the present government of SYRIZA. We want a progressive government, which will be for the good of the majority of the people, without extremists from the far-right or the far-left.
18 June 2015
Photo credit: Theodore Manolopoulos