17 Jun 2015

Greek crisis: Syriza defiant as reckoning looms

The prime minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras says he would choose for the country to default on its 320bn euro debt, rather than pursue a “continued catastrophic policy for Greece”.

Mr Tsipras is supposed to be meeting Greece’s lenders on Thursday, while Eurozone finance ministers will also be discussing the crisis that day.

Time is running out for the country to agree on a bailout package and there are concerns that it will not be able to make its next instalment of debt payments to the International Monetary Fund at the end of June.

The Greek central bank has issued a strong warning that exit from the Eurozone, or Grexit, would mean a deep recession, a dramatic decline in wages and a huge rise in unemployment.

The government’s chief of staff, Nikos Pappas said the government “has proved we have a determination not to replicate the mistakes of the past.

“We want an agreement which would take off the table any possibility of Grexit and which would allow Greece to come back to growth in the EU.”

Meanwhile, Greece’s former health minister and MP for the New Democracy party, Adonis Georgiadis, said the prospect of Greece leaving the Eurozone would be a “disaster”. The New Democracy party was voted out of government in the elections earlier this year.

‘A national disaster with no limit’

Mr Georgiadis said New Democracy would vote yes to the package of measures proposed by the European Central Bank in order to keep Greece in the Eurozone, even though the party does not like the current proposal.

“The people of Greece do not realise what Grexit means,” Mr Georgiadis said.

“Approximately thirty-five per cent [of people] think that having the Drachma would mean having life as it was before the Eurozone” he went on, adding: “That is totally wrong.

“We would not go back to 2001, we would go back to 1942. It would be a national disaster with no limit. I hope it will never happen.”