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Wed Feb 25, 2015, 08:54 PM

Financial Times: What next for Greece?



Published on Feb 24, 2015
Syriza, Greece’s ruling leftist party, has radical options to avoid both Grexit and eurozone demands, but would they work? FT columnist and associate editor Wolfgang Münchau debates with Reuters News editor-at-large Hugo Dixon. Lex’s Robert Armstrong chairs

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Greek PM Tsipras Briefs SYRIZA MPs on Negotiations (Feb. 25, 2015)

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gathered SYRIZA’s Parliamentary Group in order to brief the party’s MPs in detail regarding the government’s moves since it took office on January 26. Tsipras referred to the difficulties and climate the new government had to face, the alliances formed and the conflicts that took place, as well as how things progressed between the three consecutive Eurogroup meetings and how the government managed to secure a strong negotiation position.

According to SYRIZA sources, the Premier referred to the government’s achievements during that period of time. Those gains include: The distinction of the loan agreement from the Memorandum. The disengagement from the Memorandum, as an austerity policy framework. The interim agreement, which gives a breather to the Greek people. The avoidance of a plan aimed at economic and fiscal asphyxiation and essentially aimed at the government being considered a “left parenthesis.” The end of unrealistic primary surpluses. Stability in the financial system by reaching a Eurogroup agreement.

Regarding the list of the reforms approved by the institutions and loan partners yesterday, Tsipras noted that the government managed to replace the previous government’s measures with a series of targets based on the so-called “Thessaloniki program.” Furthermore, he stressed that an important step has been taken, even though things remain difficult, and that the government is judged by its ability to negotiate and govern. Finally, he said that the government should quickly put its plan forward, specify reforms and gain credibility on the basis of implementing those reforms along with credibility to loan partners about “willing to make the necessary changes in thorny issues that persist for decades.”

It should be noted that today’s meeting was scheduled for Tuesday night, after the Government Council, but it was adjourned due to the Parliament’s eventful meeting discussing the immunity lift or not of New Democracy MP Adonis Georgiadis.

Reactions prior to the meeting

Among the meeting’s participants was Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis who yesterday, during the Governing Council, expressed his objections on the reform program, estimating that the agreement is not compatible with everything SYRIZA committed it will implement.

On her behalf, Deputy Finance Minister Nadia Valavani stressed her worries on the “speed” with which the government can “run” a negotiation regarding the pre-election proclaimed measure of the so-called “100 installments.” As she underlined, it is an absolute necessity not to waste time. Moreover, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias expressed his belief that the negotiations should also have a geopolitical dimension.

The above objections came as a continuation of the criticism expressed on Sunday by SYRIZA MEP Manolis Glezos, who has heavily criticized the Greek government for the way it handled the Eurogroup negotiations as well as the agreed outcome. In a sharp statement published on the website of the Movement for Active Citizens that he founded, Glezos apologized to the Greek people for contributing to this “illusion,” as he characterized the negotiations from which many expected that Greece will have more gains.

In response to the historic member of the Greek Left, the Government Spokesperson Gavriil Sakellaridis commented that “in any case, we will not cease to honor and respect Manolis Glezos, but that was a misguided and wrong statement.”

Finally, on his behalf, SYRIZA MP Kostas Lapavitsas, in an article published on his personal blog, called for an immediate Parliamentary Group meeting, expressing his “deep concerns” regarding the Eurogroup agreement and the reforms expected by the government’s loan partners
- See more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/02/25/greek-pm-tsipras-briefs-syriza-mps-on-negotiations/#sthash.Cz8rOXwd.dpuf

*Thessaloniki program:
http://syriza.gr/article/id/59907/SYRIZA---THE-THESSALONIKI-PROGRAMME.html#.VO5tqrl0yM8


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