Saturday

23rd Mar 2019

Tsipras to call for national unity on bailout talks

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras will be at the Parliament Friday afternoon for a speech and debate designed as a show of strength intended for Greece's lenders.

He will address the Vouli at 6pm (5pm CET) to present a state of play of the negotiations with the EU, the European central bank (ECB) and the International monetary fund (IMF) to unblock a €7.2 billion loan in exchange of Greek structural reforms.

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"This debate is necessary to have the largest possible support," Dmitris Papadimoulis, a MEP from Tsipras' Syriza party, told EUobserver.

"Tsipras is not only the leader of Syriza but the national leader. He represents the Greek nation," added Papadimoulis, who is a vice-president of the European parliament.

"He has to be presented as such and have the necessary support to present our position and our will [to the creditors] in the name of the Greek people".

This strategy of rallying the widest political support to be in a stronger position in the bailout talks also includes the opposition.

"Tsipras wants the opposition parties to publicly say are against the proposals made by the lenders and tell the lenders: 'You see, your proposals won't pass the Greek parliament," Greek journalist Nick Malkoutzis told this website.

The leaking of both the Greek and creditors' proposals by Greek media on Thursday "put the opposition in a trap", says Malkoutzis, who is deputy editor-in-chief of the Kathimerini newspaper's English edition.

"We are now talking about specific and painful measures. It is now very difficult for the opposition to back them."

Syriza ministers and MPs have been fuming at the creditors' latest demands.

Economy minister George Stathakis told the BBC Friday morning that "the Greek government cannot accept these new proposals", and Labour Minister Panos Skourletis said it wuld reject a deal that “adds new burdens without changing the memorandum regime.”

Some MPs were even more virulent.


Alexis Mitropoulos, a Syriza deputy speaker at the Vouli told Greek Mega TV on Thursday that Juncker "conveyed the most vulgar, most murderous, toughest plan when everyone hoped that the deal was closing.”

Despite these attacks on Greece's lenders and the negotiating process, "there is at this stage no reason that Tsipras is in a difficult position", Malkoutzis said.

"He will show his MPs that he is fighting as hard as he can to get the best possible deal."

"We have different opinions and some tensions but the majority will be in favour of an agreement," Papadimoulis said.

"Now it's time for EU leaders and the IMF to show the same realism and flexibility that the Greek government showed".

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