ATHENS – With Greece seemingly poised to begin a miracle comeback from a crushing economic crisis and seven-year-long recession, major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras said it’s an illusion and that more austerity measures are in the cards.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has hailed a deal with international lenders as the steppingstone Greece needs to finally recover but Tsipras said it’s just a disguise to hide another blow he said will be put on Greeks.
Tsipras made his remarks before the Parliament is set to vote around midnight on March 30 on an omnibus bill that includes the details of an agreement the coalition government made with the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) to get release of a long-delayed nine billion euros installment.
Some lawmakers from the ruling parties of Samaras’ New Democracy Conservatives and its partner the PASOK Socialists said they would not support the bill because of a provision that extends the shelf life of fresh milk and opens Greek dairy farmers to foreign competition but they have reportedly given in and now will back it.
That led Tsipras to say that, “The government blackmails as usual its deputies and discredits the parliamentary procedures and tables another memorandum-steamroller of the labor rights and of the productive base of the country.”
He said Samaras is using the bill to disguise what the Leftist leader said would be another round of austerity after the May elections for Greek municipalities and the European Parliament which polls showed SYRIZA was leading until a March 24-27 survey by Alco gave New Democracy a slim lead.
SYRIZA also noted that “the omnibus bill is not the end of the memorandum but its follow up with exactly the same terms of internal devaluation, austerity and devastation of the laborers. It is the first part of the agreement with the Troika of Greece’s lenders while the second part will arrive after the euro-elections to finally dissolve any picture of optimism and recovery”.
It added: “The government can’t hide any more that their only commitment is to the lenders and to the memoranda and not for the needs of the society and its interests,” it concluded.