ATHENS – Seeing enemies everywhere, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is still hoping for renewed debt relief and some way to escape imposing more austerity.
Eurozone officials are due to meet next week to discuss whether to put back into place a debt relief plan they agreed in December, only to see Tsipras prove critics right when he immediately handed out 617 million euros ($643.32 million) in holiday pension bonuses in a bid to halt his slide in polls for reneging on anti-austerity promises.
His meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is putting up the bulk of three bailouts of 326 billion euros ($339.91 million) saw him return to Athens empty-handed but the newspaper Kathimerini said he’s still confident he can turn around his freefall – or blame outside forces if he doesn’t.
The paper said if he’s forced to call snap elections if negotiations with the country’s lenders over terms of a long-stalled third bailout of 86 billion euros ($89.67 billion) fail that he would have an excuse for it.
Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is due to meet EU officials in an attempt to win their support at a working meeting of Eurozone officials on Jan. 12 and a full meeting on Jan. 26.
New Democracy spokesman Vassilis Kikilias accused the government of “giving everything to the creditors in exchange for staying in power.”
“It also admits that it’s discussing a new, fourth memorandum, but it calls it a ‘fiscal path,’” Kikilias added.