Tsipras’ economic policy architect resigns
By Eric Maurice
Giannis Milios, a member of Syriza’s central committee and long time economic advisor to Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, resigned Wednesday (18 March), on the eve of a crucial EU meeting in Brussels.
"Economic department, farewell. With gratitude for the regards, the comradeship and trust," Milios wrote on his Twitter account, giving no further explanation.
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A professor of economic policy who defines himself as a Marxist, Milios is considered one of the most loyal members of the left-wing party.
His resignation is being seen a sign of a rift inside Syriza and the government about the deal Tsipras will try to broker with EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday and in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday (23 February).
Greece is currently locked in a political tussle with its euro partners over what reforms it needs to undertake in return for the next tranche of bailout money being released.
During the last election campaign, Milios suggested that Greece will not meet its debt repayment if a Syriza government did not find an agreement with Greece’s Eurozone partners.
Early March, he co-wrote with two other Syriza economists a very critical analysis of the 20 February agreement with the Eurogroup.
"It is clear that the new agreement is a truce, but truce is by no means a tie. The agreement is a first step on slippery ground," wrote Milios in the piece, whose title was "Syriza’s only choice: a radical leap forward".
"The question that remains open is whether the government will insist on superficially presenting the result of the negotiation as a 'victory', disregarding all the critical issues that emerged, or will attempt to analyse in depth the conditions and the consequences of the retreat as long as there is still time," added the analysis.
Milios and the other two economists then advised the government to "bring back [instead] on the agenda our programmatic commitments to redistribute income and power in favour of labour, to re-found the welfare state, for democracy and participation in decision-making."
Milios announced his resignation hours after the Greek parliament voted in a so-called humanitarian crisis bill providing free electricity and food stamps to the poorest people.
He had been a strong advocate of the bill, which prompted a negative reaction from the European commission technical team in Greece.