ATHENS — Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday sternly attacked Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the way he handled the economic crisis prior to the pandemic, stating that "Mr. Μitsotakis promised growth and in six months delivered recession, before the coronavirus."
In an interview in the context of Delphi Economic Forum, Tsipras claimed that "we face the risk of losing in five months all that was hard won over five years," adding that his government had handed over unemployment at a rate of 17 pct and it was now in danger of returning to 26 pct. "The government will be in the difficult position of having to take measures in 2021 or 2022 that could have been avoided if it had not triggered a recession with its policies before the coronavirus or if it had taken frontloaded measures to support the economy."
Tsipras quoted an OΕCD report showing that all the countries will be in recession in 2020 due to the pandemic but recover in 2021, with only Greece having a slower recovery.
Asked if he would take European Stability Mechanism (ESM) funds, he said "I would be very cautious and it would depend on the goal they were used for and whether they were given with memorandum conditions".
Tsipras welcomed the agreement with Italy on maritime zones adding that "it is a development we could have had in 2016. We welcome it. We had agreed the same then with Gentiloni, for the Italians to be able to fish between 6-12 nautical miles."
On relations with Turkey, he said Greece needs to have national line that does not lead to a clash but the negotiations table, but not on the basis of Turkey's maximalist demands. In this framework, he said Greece should form a national strategy and reach an agreement with Egypt, even with the partial designation of an EEZ, as well as proceeding with the extension to 12 nautical miles of Greek territorial waters in the Ionian Sea.