ATHENS – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said an anti-austerity vote on which he reneged and cost the country 86 billion euros ($98 billion) for a third bailout was a good deal.
Tsipras called the referendum in July, 2015 asking voters to back him in defying austerity demands from international creditors and they did but he then relented.
The delay in negotiating with lenders after he won in January, 2015 – and led to closing the banks for three weeks and ongoing capital controls – was costly to Greece, most analysts said but Tsipras said it wasn’t.
In an interview on SKAI TV – which his Radical Left SYRIZA-led government reportedly is trying to shut down – he said the referendum result had helped Greece even though he reneged on it.
“No one can criticize us for being unprepared, maybe they can criticize us for not achieving more … no one says, however, that with (previous PM Antonis) Samaras we’d have achieved more,” he said.
That was in response to pension cuts he made after saying he wouldn’t and insisting that he didn’t even though he did.
He also insisted, despite reports to the contrary from his own former Finance Minister, that he never negotiated an exit from the Eurozone as a contingency plan and that it was Germany trying to do it – even though he said German Chancellor Angela Merkel didn’t know about.